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How Does Decisionmaking at GOARCH Assemblies Work?

rakovsky

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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.
I don't know whether the xenophobic staring practice is still going on. My guess is that it is still going on though, because it seemed like an ingrained cultural practice that they were dedicated to.

Apparently many common Turkish people are super gracious to random Western tourists, and it shows up in home videos people make of visiting Edessa/Sanliurfa. It could partly have to do with Eastern and Asian hospitality culture, particularly to Westerners. East Slavs and Chinese are traditionally like that too.

The other side of that with the Turkish culture though is that if it came to living WITHIN their culture, they might be less welcoming if you are practicing Christian, Greek, or Armenian due to their historic "Turkification" policy. Probably the complexities of Turkish culture deserves a separate thread.
 
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Fr. George

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I like Pittsburgh and Marx.
He's not a fan of Marx - he was in the cemetery to visit the grave of an author there and happened to notice Marx's grave (and since he's a public figure, that became its own issue).
 

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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.
I've read the reports, spoken with Alexei, and have seen the issues on the ground for some time now. I can't speak for other parts of the country, but locally: The steepest part of the decline, at least from my vantage point, is in households who didn't come to DL much to begin with.
 

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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.
I know this is a big issue with the OCA's local diocese here (W. Pa.) - but one thing we don't have a good sense of is migration. How much of the decline is true decline (i.e. people leaving Orthodoxy, or their children leave the faith), and how much is just movement (i.e. the W. Pa. parishioners are now DoS parishioners, etc.)? We see this in the GOA as well - the Met. of Altanta has a lot of mission-minded parishes, but also must recognize that a lot of their growth is also due to migration from the NE (NY, MA, NJ, etc.).
 

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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.
My fellow Greeks drive me crazy. Some are among the most racist people I've ever met, and some are among the friendliest. I know of multiple cases of people traveling to Greece to backpack across the country, knowing at most a handful of words, and being warmly greeted and treated everywhere; I've also seen Greeks harass other Greeks because they're from the wrong village.
 

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he was in the cemetery to visit the grave of an author there and happened to notice Marx's grave
Marx when he got old got very ill. His maid and family noted that he started wearing the prayer shawl, lit candles, and went to synagogue.
 

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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.
I met a lot of nice Turks on the ferry boat back-and-forth from Istanbul and Heybeliada. Some even commented (when it was obvious we were a Christian group) about how they felt that our people in Turkey were treated poorly. But I also know people who were in the Patriarchal compound when the Grey Wolves group threw grenades over the wall. Like anywhere else, you've got kind people, middle people, and jerks.
 

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  1. I met a lot of nice Turks on the ferry boat back-and-forth from Istanbul and Heybeliada. Some even commented (when it was obvious we were a Christian group) about how they felt that our people in Turkey were treated poorly.
  2. But I also know people who were in the Patriarchal compound when the Grey Wolves group threw grenades over the wall.
This is going along with what I said earlier in the message about (1) Turks having a culture of graciousness toward Western visitors and (2) the situation being different if you are an out-group living WITHIN Turkish society (eg. Greeks, Armenians, Orthodox).

I am not really intending to single out Turks on this issue of outward graciousness vs. internal relations, but they do have the Armenian genocide in their past. Saudi Arabia would be a more current example of this dichotomy. There are foreign bases on Saudi soil where the Saudis allow Christian worship and alcohol.


SOURCE: https://lifeinsaudiarabia.net/things-about-saudis-i-admire-the-most/
 
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rakovsky

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Apropos the above:

10 things about Saudis I admire the most

6. Saudi Hospitality
Saudis know well to protect their guests. They shall make sure that no one causes harm or worry to their guests. They are so hospitable that they tend to literally pamper their guests.

Even if you went to their home for small work(like conveying an important message) and did not intend to have a cup of tea or so, they will make sure you were served well. They would literally pull you inside and make sure you eat well!
  1. Saudis love their religion
Saudis are true to their religion. An average Saudi, not an extremist, is protecting his faith well.
Women here are respected the most.
They have separate places in buses and waiting zones.
One might read between the last two lines above.
 

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What language is the Antioch liturgy in?
Mostly English. The Antiochian Archdiocese in America is very orienteted to Orthodoxy itself, rather than clinging to ethnic ties (there are still some exceptions of course, but their attitudes have drawn in tens of thousands of converts; can't say the same about GOARCH).
Probably over 97% of Americans can't read Greek.
Bump that number up to 99.5%.
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.
Is it still a problem when there isn't a single service in a GOARCH monastery uttering a single word of English? Thank God these monasteries exist, but I still think it's a great shame that they speak only Greek in the services. Imagine the wealth of theology and understanding that could come to pilgrims if they understood the words of a 5-hour vigil. But, for many people, they just stand there listening to words they don't understand. The monasteries are influenced not by GOARCH leaderhsip but more from Elder Ephraim, so the problem seems to be permeating both sides of the spectrum in GOARCH (the oikonomia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its leadership and the akriveia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its monasteries).
Now, the services of a monastery are primarily for the monastics, not the pilgrims. So if all the monastics spoke Greek as a native language, I wouldn't have a problem with that. But many monastics are converts that don't understand many of the words in the language.
Personally I like it when a language like Greek is mixed in, like 1/3 in the other language.
I think that's a good ideal for parishes and monasteries under the GOARCH that want to have prayers in Greek.
This is hardly the way one should speak to a priest.
The method of delivering the criticism is off, but criticisms like this shouldn't be ignored if they're valid.
 

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Is it still a problem when there isn't a single service in a GOARCH monastery uttering a single word of English? Thank God these monasteries exist, but I still think it's a great shame that they speak only Greek in the services. Imagine the wealth of theology and understanding that could come to pilgrims if they understood the words of a 5-hour vigil. But, for many people, they just stand there listening to words they don't understand. The monasteries are influenced not by GOARCH leaderhsip but more from Elder Ephraim, so the problem seems to be permeating both sides of the spectrum in GOARCH (the oikonomia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its leadership and the akriveia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its monasteries).
Now, the services of a monastery are primarily for the monastics, not the pilgrims. So if all the monastics spoke Greek as a native language, I wouldn't have a problem with that. But many monastics are converts that don't understand many of the words in the language.
Might you be willing to consider that there could be other reasons besides some undue attachment to Hellenism as to why the services are done in Greek? Several other factors surely went into that decision. For example, had the monasteries not succeeded (and thankfully that was not the case), teaching the monks who did not speak Greek enough Greek to function would have provided a way to integrate them into monasteries in Greece. Furthermore, there are issues with respect to liturgical texts. There does not exist any complete set of liturgical texts in English which is suitable for use at an Athonite-style monastery. HTM is lacking the triodion and at any rate, they did not bother to meter the canons (or even just odes 1,3 and 9 at a minimum since odes 4-8 are read in common practice) in the menaia and the pentecostarion. Other sources which are more complete than HTM do not meter anything. On top of this, there are many supplementary materials which have not been translated into English. Yet another consideration is music. Before Fr. Ephraim’s divine music project, there was essentially nothing, and even now, the project sadly is incomplete. It would take perhaps a century of work to create a suitable corpus of textual and musical materials for monasteries to be able to serve all of their services in English. Starting out in Greek essentially allowed the monasteries to establish the rhythm of liturgical life which is at the heart of cenobitic life instead of starting off with something substandard and hamstrung by the lack of materials in the English language.

The method of delivering the criticism is off, but criticisms like this shouldn't be ignored if they're valid.
I do not know if I can fully agree. It is not appropriate, in my opinion, to ask a priest to make an account for his metropolitan’s actions in a public forum. If the priest disagrees, it is not appropriate or prudent for him to say so publicly. If he feels the metropolitan’s actions were justified, he nevertheless cannot truly speak for the metropolitan (unless perhaps the metropolitan has authorized the priest to give his account of things), but can only offer an opinion which may very well differ from the metropolitan’s own reasoning for why he acted in such a way. What then is to be gained from such a line of questioning other than to put the priest in a difficult position?
 

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Mostly English. The Antiochian Archdiocese in America is very orienteted to Orthodoxy itself, rather than clinging to ethnic ties (there are still some exceptions of course, but their attitudes have drawn in tens of thousands of converts; can't say the same about GOARCH).
This is not entirely true. There are churches among the Antiochians which essentially serve as ethnic enclaves, even to their own detriment. There are many Antiochian churches which are not like this, but some of them have equally troublesome baggage from the old Evangelical Orthodox Church which Metropolitan Philip received wholesale into the AANA in a most irregular fashion. That being said, there are many good Antiochian parishes which do not suffer from either problem (I myself attend one such parish), and if you have found one, I am glad that is the case. On the other hand, there are many Greek Orthodox churches outside of the Greek enclaves in the Northeast which are comparable to a good Antiochian parish. I know that bashing the GOA is really popular around here, but I think this criticism is both inapplicable to many Greek Orthodox parishes in America and also not something unique to the GOA. Here in my city alone, ROCOR, the GOA, and the AANA have multiple parishes, some of which lean heavily towards being ethnic enclaves where you might hear not a word of English spoken in liturgy or after and others which are not like this. Why then does the GOA alone get all the hate?
 

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Is it still a problem when there isn't a single service in a GOARCH monastery uttering a single word of English? Thank God these monasteries exist, but I still think it's a great shame that they speak only Greek in the services. Imagine the wealth of theology and understanding that could come to pilgrims if they understood the words of a 5-hour vigil. But, for many people, they just stand there listening to words they don't understand. The monasteries are influenced not by GOARCH leaderhsip but more from Elder Ephraim, so the problem seems to be permeating both sides of the spectrum in GOARCH (the oikonomia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its leadership and the akriveia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its monasteries).

Now, the services of a monastery are primarily for the monastics, not the pilgrims. So if all the monastics spoke Greek as a native language, I wouldn't have a problem with that. But many monastics are converts that don't understand many of the words in the language.
I don't want to dodge the legitimate concerns about the way that some of the monastic communities present themselves (though, as you note - the services at a monastery are for the monks, not the visitors), but the oldest monastery in the GOA (5 years older than Fr. Ephraim's 1st monastery) uses nearly 100% English in its services.
 

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P. Bartholomew in the last several years has implemented some noncanonical innovations like letting clergy remarry
1. limited basis

2. this was widely done in the aftermath of WWI and WWI in Eastern Europe; I've had multiple Serbs tell me about how widely this was allowed by the postwar SOC.

Abp. Elpiodophoros has announced that marriage counts as conversion for nonOrthodox spouses.
He didn't announce anything of the sort. He questioned our current practice (allowing non-Orthodox to receive this one particular sacrament, and not others), showing off our double-standard (which he's not the first to do - this has been a complaint of the Georgian Church for years).
 

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Apropos the above:


One might read between the last two lines above.
Eh - they say they're hospitable, but I know someone who was nearly thrown in prison because one of their religious police saw his cross chain peeking out from under his shirt. If he hadn't outran them to a place where he could quickly remove and hide it, he'd have been in serious trouble.
 

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Mostly English. The Antiochian Archdiocese in America is very orienteted to Orthodoxy itself, rather than clinging to ethnic ties (there are still some exceptions of course, but their attitudes have drawn in tens of thousands of converts; can't say the same about GOARCH).

Bump that number up to 99.5%.

Is it still a problem when there isn't a single service in a GOARCH monastery uttering a single word of English? Thank God these monasteries exist, but I still think it's a great shame that they speak only Greek in the services. Imagine the wealth of theology and understanding that could come to pilgrims if they understood the words of a 5-hour vigil. But, for many people, they just stand there listening to words they don't understand. The monasteries are influenced not by GOARCH leaderhsip but more from Elder Ephraim, so the problem seems to be permeating both sides of the spectrum in GOARCH (the oikonomia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its leadership and the akriveia-like side of GOARCH stemming from its monasteries).
Now, the services of a monastery are primarily for the monastics, not the pilgrims. So if all the monastics spoke Greek as a native language, I wouldn't have a problem with that. But many monastics are converts that don't understand many of the words in the language.

I think that's a good ideal for parishes and monasteries under the GOARCH that want to have prayers in Greek.

The method of delivering the criticism is off, but criticisms like this shouldn't be ignored if they're valid.
I was with a group of kids at Life-giving Spring Monastery in Dunlap about 22 years ago and the did the Vigil for Dormition. A nun asked me how I liked the service and I told her I didn’t know what 99% of their singing was supposed to convey because I’m not a Greek speaker. She said that I surely profited spiritually though. I didn’t pull any punches and told her if I did I could not tell because it bypassed my cognition.

They just don’t seem to get it that what works for them doesn’t work for the rest of us. I’m not going to drive all day to Florence to St. Anthony’s to stand there ignorant and I have no emotional attachment to their specific way of serving. Everyone needs to worship in their own language. The monasteries of Elder Ephraim are for a very select group that does not include me.
 

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Might you be willing to consider that there could be other reasons besides some undue attachment to Hellenism as to why the services are done in Greek? Several other factors surely went into that decision. For example, had the monasteries not succeeded (and thankfully that was not the case), teaching the monks who did not speak Greek enough Greek to function would have provided a way to integrate them into monasteries in Greece. Furthermore, there are issues with respect to liturgical texts. There does not exist any complete set of liturgical texts in English which is suitable for use at an Athonite-style monastery. HTM is lacking the triodion and at any rate, they did not bother to meter the canons (or even just odes 1,3 and 9 at a minimum since odes 4-8 are read in common practice) in the menaia and the pentecostarion. Other sources which are more complete than HTM do not meter anything. On top of this, there are many supplementary materials which have not been translated into English. Yet another consideration is music. Before Fr. Ephraim’s divine music project, there was essentially nothing, and even now, the project sadly is incomplete. It would take perhaps a century of work to create a suitable corpus of textual and musical materials for monasteries to be able to serve all of their services in English. Starting out in Greek essentially allowed the monasteries to establish the rhythm of liturgical life which is at the heart of cenobitic life instead of starting off with something substandard and hamstrung by the lack of materials in the English language.
Those are good points.
 

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This is not entirely true. There are churches among the Antiochians which essentially serve as ethnic enclaves, even to their own detriment. There are many Antiochian churches which are not like this, but some of them have equally troublesome baggage from the old Evangelical Orthodox Church which Metropolitan Philip received wholesale into the AANA in a most irregular fashion. That being said, there are many good Antiochian parishes which do not suffer from either problem (I myself attend one such parish), and if you have found one, I am glad that is the case. On the other hand, there are many Greek Orthodox churches outside of the Greek enclaves in the Northeast which are comparable to a good Antiochian parish. I know that bashing the GOA is really popular around here, but I think this criticism is both inapplicable to many Greek Orthodox parishes in America and also not something unique to the GOA. Here in my city alone, ROCOR, the GOA, and the AANA have multiple parishes, some of which lean heavily towards being ethnic enclaves where you might hear not a word of English spoken in liturgy or after and others which are not like this. Why then does the GOA alone get all the hate?
GOARCH is the biggest target and they should know better. They have the most resources by far but waste them spectacularly. The Archons make sure Hellenism is promoted perhaps even above Orthodoxy in some cases. They could be the solution but instead are arguably the biggest problem.
 

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Is it still a problem when there isn't a single service in a GOARCH monastery uttering a single word of English? Thank God these monasteries exist, but I still think it's a great shame that they speak only Greek in the services.
I would rather continue this talk on another thread. This argument could go on for a long time because it's rather subjective. For me, Greek and Aramaic services particularly have a special appeal because they are original languages for some liturgies and Christian texts, from the Sermon on the Mount to the Didache to the Liturgy of St. James and through the Councils. Plus, I like Slavonic. I would like to attend some Aramaic services.

On the other hand, I attended a well-attended Romanian language liturgy once in a US city and the experience was just "OK" because I don't speak Romanian. I followed along in the service book and had some conversations at Coffee hour, so I'd give that experience a B or C grade relative to EO services where I understood the language. After the service there was a very long sermon... in Romanian. The priest seemed animated and charismatic in a good way. But since I didn't understand it, it was comparable to sitting in a room with a radio playing in Chinese. I would give that part a D because it was so boring. To give another analogy, it's hard for me to see myself becoming a regular attendee at the Ephraimite monastery 40 minutes from me because I don't understand Greek. Some converts say that they don't care if they can't understand the Ephraimites' 100% Greek services.... Good for them...

But ultimately I don't see GOARCH's Hellenism as itself a problem actively damaging world Orthodoxy, just as I don't see those Romanian parishes' emphasis on Romanian as hurting the Orthodox world. How much to use Greek or to focus on Greek culture seems like an internal policy matter within GOARCH and the Romanian jurisdictions, unless it oversteps certain bounds such as by excluding non-Greeks from membership or welcome. (eg. the owl-eye cafe treatment).



I haven't noticed that level of overstepping in the last few decades, ie. those when I've interacted with Greek churches in the US. Typically GOARCH people have seemed to be nice or friendly to me as someone (non-Greek EO) visiting their parishes.
 
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Why then does the GOA alone get all the hate?
There are valid reasons to either support or criticize the GOA for being Hellenic-centered. Personally, their Hellenic centeredness is not a big deal for me because I haven't seen it being an ongoing bar of exclusion against non-Greeks. I've heard from Rust-Belt Greeks that Greeks in some parts of the US (eg. NYC?) are "cliquey" and just prefer Greeks.

If you want a valid critical argument against it being Hellenistic, the criticism can go this way- Constantinople styles itself as being "THE" patriarchate for America. The unintended implication is that the CP holds responsibility for bringing America into Orthodoxy. Very few Americans speak Greek. English is the native language. Meanwhile, GOARCH is the wealthiest jurisdiction in the US. GOARCH should be devoting resources to setting up 70%+ English language mission parishes across the US like especially AOCNA has done. AOCNA has grown drastically since the 1970's, and that growth has to a big extent been among US converts who don't know Arabic. If GOARCH was not claiming to be "THE" jurisdiction for the US, nor had major funds, nor was the largest EO jurisdiction, then it would probably get less criticism like ROCOR gets less criticism... But remember that ROCOR has only been canonical since 2007. Before then, ROCOR would have gotten more criticism... for being insular, disconnected from the rest of the Orthodox world etc.

Probably now with Constantinople styling itself the head of all Orthodox and infringing on the MP, it is going to indirectly raise up for itself some more criticism in areas like these that people haven't paid as much attention to. In the past I would not have either. But when P. Bartholomew is using common loyalty to Greek "genos" and "blood" in his letter to the JP to argue that the JP should agree with the CP's positions.... his declarations are indirectly bringing up and validating these kinds of criticisms of over-Hellenizing.
 
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But when P. Bartholomew is using common loyalty to Greek "genos" and "blood" in his letter to the JP to argue that the JP should agree with the CP's positions.... his declarations are indirectly bringing up and validating these kinds of criticisms of over-Hellenizing.
I am referring to his 2019 letter:
Patriarch Bartholomew’s Reply to Patriarch Theophilos

First of all, we are unpleasantly surprised by the fact that for the first time in the long history of our two Patriarchates, the rightly-called “Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem” corresponds with the the Ecumenical Patriarch in a language foreign to our mother [tongue], as though he has suddenly stopped feeling of the same blood and sharing with us in the same historic and martyric Γένος, which of course Divine Providence from of ages entrusted with protecting the sacred Pilgrimage-Sites of the Holy Land through the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher.

Greek original:

ie. "Divine Providence" entrusted their Greek "Genos" with the Holy Land Shrines and the two Patriarchs should feel that they share the same Greek "blood" and not correspond in foreign languages.
 

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I don't want to dodge the legitimate concerns about the way that some of the monastic communities present themselves ... but the oldest monastery in the GOA ...uses nearly 100% English in its services.
Thanks for writing in the thread. It's helped the thread go in a more constructive direction.
 

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I don't want to dodge the legitimate concerns about the way that some of the monastic communities present themselves (though, as you note - the services at a monastery are for the monks, not the visitors), but the oldest monastery in the GOA (5 years older than Fr. Ephraim's 1st monastery) uses nearly 100% English in its services.
Where would that monastery be? if they are nearly all-English why don’t Elder E.’s monasteries use some of their material?

The overarching issue here is the insularity common to foreign-based jurisdictions that maintain a ‘diasporic’ mindset. The Romanians used to have a saying, “mil și drum” - a thousand and the road. It meant Romanian emigre laborers aimed to cache $1000 (a lot a century and more ago) and hit the road back to Romania. The patriarchate back there, a new creation 100 years ago, set up a diocese here that they intended as a cash cow, despite how rich Romania was then. That thing went over like a lead balloon and shut down before WWII. Similarly the Phanar treats GOARCH, its only really substantial ecclesial asset left, as a source for its bottom line, and other concerns besides the Phanar in its precarity are far down the list.

But the insularity of foreign jurisdictions is what I want to address. I know a Romanian OCA priest that doesn’t own a ryassa. I asked him why and he said he didn’t get one last time he was back home in Romania. He’s been here for 30 years. A Romanian OCA priestmonk was visibly bored when I spoke to him about the history of the OCA. GOA clergy would never purely on any liturgical work published by the OCA. GOA priest told me the identity of the OCA and its role here are inconsequential. ROCOR despises OCA and GOARCH for their ‘modernism’… it’s as though people convert to Ortgodoxy so they can diss other Orthodox. I see that happening here, people blurring the lines between religion and politics and red-baiting. It’s appalling.

I think the root of the problem is lack of clearly-recognized authority on these shores. Moscow itself abrogates the terms of the Tomos it gave the OCA. As autocephalous Local Church the OCA does not enjoy the dignity it was given by what was then its Mother Church, now its Sister. The Phanar has not made any serious claim to overarching jurisdiction here because it has no leg to stand on. GOARCH is definitively NOT the default monepiscopate or what-have-you here. They are simply the largest at this point and will likely not stay in 1st place (as though this was a race!). If they moved to New York from Istanbul then they might be able to make that claim.
 

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Fr. George,
Opus' answer at the beginning, and your message that I am briefly quoting from below, have been the most informative on the thread.
"In the OCA and the MP, the highest decisionmaking body is the All-American Assembly and Local "Sobor" assembly, respectively."

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).
...
[In GOARCH,] Matters of Dogma / Faith, the operation of the Eparchial Synod, etc. are only dealt with by the Eparchial Synod & the Patriarchal Synod.
Perhaps things work differently in the Greek tradition, but for the MP, the "Local Assembly"/"Pomestny Sobor" is the highest authority.

In the Orthodox Church as a whole, Orthodoxy is "Conciliar": an Ecumenical Council has often been considered even "infallible", whereas local councils (eg. the Council of Pat. Dionysius in Jerusalem in the 17th century), as well as synods of bishops that are not "Ecumenical" are not considered infallible. Nor are individual patriarchs' synodal decisions that are made that cover their own patriarchates considered infallible. Further, I think that you and I understand Orthodoxy to mean that are churches are all united by councils, but not all under one single patriarch alone. This suggests to me that Ecumenical Councils are higher authorities than patriarchs' own synods individually.

In contrast, a former Roman Catholic told me that in the Catholic model, the Pope and the Catholics' "Ecumenical Councils" like Vatican II are equal in authority. In the Roman Catholic model today, the Pope can speak "ex cathedra" "infallibly," and both the "Magisterium" and the Catholic "Ecumenical Councils" are "infallible."

The Russian "Alphabet of Faith" encyclopedia entry for "Local Assembly"/Pomestny Sobor records that there was a "Local Assembly" for the Russian Church in 1917-1918, and, per my translation:
Consequently, Local Assemblies were called in the years 1945, 1971, 1988, 1990. Currently, the Local Assembly is considered the highest organ of the Russian Orthodox Church, having functions of the highest juridical and legal authority. A Local Assembly is called by the Patriarch or his locum tenens and by the Holy Synod by measure of necessity, but not less than once in five years.

The members of the Local Assembly in their status are ruling and vicar archpastors and also representatives from the clergy and monks and laity, elected in agreement with the Regulation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Local Assembly has the right to interpret the teaching of the Orthodox Church, decide canonical, liturgical, pastoral, and other questions of internal and external Church politics, to canonize saints, elect a patriarch, assert decrees of Archpriestly assemblies, and so on. Matters of Dogma / Faith, the operation of the Eparchial Synod, etc. are only dealt with by the Eparchial Synod & the Patriarchal Synod.

The Local Assembly is the last instance, delegated the ability to consider dogmatic and canonical apostasies in the activity of the Patriarch.
SOURCE:

Google's translation includes:
...a Local Council, which opened in August 1917 and whose sessions lasted until September 1918. Subsequently, Local Councils were convened in 1945, 1971, 1988, 1990. At present, the Local Council is considered the supreme body of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has the functions of the supreme legislative and judicial authority of the Church.
....
A local council has the right to interpret the teachings of the Orthodox Church, decide canonical, liturgical, pastoral and other issues of internal and external church policy, canonize saints, elect a patriarch, approve decisions of the Councils of Bishops, etc.

The local council is the last instance authorized to consider dogmatic and canonical deviations in the activities of the Patriarch.
 
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Continuing on your informative post:
Matters of Dogma / Faith, the operation of the Eparchial Synod, etc. are only dealt with by the Eparchial Synod & the Patriarchal Synod.
It sounds like you are saying that GOARCH's Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congresses and Metropolitan Assemblies do not have input into nor oversight over issues of dogma, nor over the workings of the Eparchial Synod. Thus, if the Eparchial Synod made some drastic mistake, whether in its doctrinal teachings or in other operations (eg. if it violated its charter), then the Congresses could not intervene to correct the mistakes.

Nor could the GOARCH Congresses impeach or vote out the Eparchial hierarchs who made doctrinal or operational mistakes, since you wrote that "Elections for Hierarchs within the family of the EP are the exclusive provenance of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate."
 

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Continuing on your informative post:
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.
Since the Local Assemblies/Sobor are the highest organ of authority in the Moscow Patriarchate, and the MP's Sobors can make doctrinal decisions, then my guess is that the OCA's All American Assembly/Sobor can also make doctrinal decisions. This is because the 7th All-American Sobor/Council decided that the Sobors were to remain the "Supreme Legislative and Administrative body of our Church."

Plus, the OCA's Sobor seems to operate in a similar manner (clergy and lay delegates), has a similar name, was constituted around the same time (1907 in the US vs. 1917 in Russia) by the bishop (St. Tikhon) who became elected patriarch by the 1917 Russian Assembly/Sobor, and the OCA got autocephaly from the Russian Church that operates on this "Local Assembly" model. Plus, the OCA's assemblies have made crucial decisions for the OCA, like its decisions to bring in Uniates in Canada as a "Ukrainian Orthodox Church," to leave ROCOR, its 1945 decision to rejoin the MP, and its 1945 decision to achieve autocephaly.

The Orthodox Wiki page on the Sobors include:
Second All-American Sobor
...
Other actions were... authorizing return of Ukrainian Uniates in Canada to the Orthodox Church as members of the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church..."

Fourth All-American Sobor

The document produced by the sobor declared the Russian Orthodox diocese in America a "temporarily self-governing Church, governed by its elected Archbishop together with the Council of Bishops, a Council composed of elected clergy and laity, and periodic Councils of the entire American Church."

Seventh All-American Sobor

The sobor initiated a petition to the Patriarch of Moscow to accept the American Metropolitanate under his spiritual leadership with the proviso that the "present autonomous status and right to self-government" were to be retained and that the All-American Councils/Sobors were to continue to be the "Supreme Legislative and Administrative body of our Church."

The 1970 Sobor is also known as the "First All-American Council", since the name Sobor was changed legally to Council in English. Here is a list of the All-American Council decisions:
 

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Here are the parts where you gave good keypoints on how GOARCH decisionmaking bodies function:
Generally speaking, Synods are the highest bodies within their respective autocephalous Churches, with specific functions possibly delegated to other groups.

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.

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.

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 and the Regulations.

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.
Theoretically, it sounds like if the GOARCH leadership made a big enough "unorthodox" mistake, either in ecclesiology, doctrine, or administration, then:
1. Metropolitan Clergy-Laity Assemblies could elect "orthodox" delegates to Metropolis Councils.
2. Metropolitan Assemblies could submit amendments to Archdiocesan Regulations to the Archdiocesan Congresses.
3. GOARCH's clergy and laity could elect "orthodox" delegates to an Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, and the Congress could then adopt the Metropolises' "orthodox" amendments.
4. Do the Archdiocesan Congresses also elect any members of the Archdiocesan Councils? I am guessing from that the answer is Yes, because the 2018 Archdiocesan Congress voted on:
(i) the composition, powers and duties of the Archdiocesan Council Executive Committee; (ii) the composition, powers and duties of the Archdiocesan Council; (iii) the composition, powers and duties of the standing committees of Archdiocesan Counci
SOURCE: https://clergylaity.s3.amazonaws.co...f-motions-from-2018-clergy-laity-congress.pdf

So it seems that in this scenario, "orthodox" Archdiocesan Congress delegates could elect "orthodox" delegates onto the Archdiocesan Council and could vote to give the Council with its new, "orthodox" majority sufficient authority that might be able to return GOARCH onto an "orthodox" path even if the Eparchial Synod desired otherwise.

But on the other hand, you wrote that "synods are the highest bodies", referring in particular to Constantinople's Patriarchal synod and GOARCH's Eparchial synod. Plus, Constantinople controls elections of hierarchs, so theoretically it could make sure that the Eparchy's synod of hierarchs agrees with Constantinople's stances on every issue, whether right or wrong, so long as it found hierarchs who supported its stances. And if the Eparchial Synod is really the highest body, then regardless of whether its decisions are right or wrong, its "synod-topped" structure of administration might let it override any decision taken by an "orthodox" Archdiocesan Council.

So the next question becomes what would happen if an "orthodox" Archdiocesan Council was in opposition to an Eparchial Synod. Based on what FULK NERA wrote below, it appears that the Eparchial Synod could always override GOARCH's Archdiocesan Council:
GOARCH has a Charter, which was put into abeyance (whatever that means) by the newly-elected Archbishop, who was appointed by the Phanar without consulting (rather ignoring) the recommendations of the Archdiocesan Council. As an Exarchate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the North American Archdiocese receives orders and staff from above.
In that case, if the issue was important enough, Greek parishes would want to leave GOARCH like Episcopalian Churches left the EC USA. In that case, who owns GOARCH parishes' property? GOARCH's recent Supreme Court brief is making a circuitous argument that GOARCH's leadership owns all its parishes' property because the property is for the purpose of following Greek Orthodoxy, and because supposedly only GOARCH's leadership and not secular courts decide whether parishes are following Greek Orthodoxy. I haven't studied the issue deeply enough, but it seems to me that GOARCH needs to have some regulation specifying that GOARCH owns all property if that is what GOARCH wants, instead of GOARCH just relying on this circuitous argument to claim ownership.
 

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I’m not MP. I was EP then left and joined the Antiochians. This is not just a “muhh MP is mean to EP”. There are orthodox from other jurisdictions that are not happy with what the EP has done
That includes many Greeks, btw.
 

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And you would think. Pour defenseless EP , isolated in Turkey can never put a dent on a big behemoth like Russia!
I think all of orthodoxy is getting agood belly laugh.
Next time show up at the councils.
Lol
LOL.
Not your robber pseudocouncils.
We Orthodox get big belly laugh at the Phanar's pretensions, but the devil gets the last laugh on their effects.
 

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It's apparent the MP is choosing to go it alone with a total disregard for ecclesiastical structure.
We'll have to wait and see how this plays out.
Who's "we"?
We Orthodox hold to the Orthodox praxis, taxis and dogma of ecclesiastical structure. The Phanar has decided to go its own way alone, and it will play out the same way when the Vatican did the same-except, that unlike the disappearance of Orthodoxy in Italy, the Patriarch of Moscow is already making moves for the preservation (and expansion) of Orthodoxy in Asia Minor, Greece, Africa and Cyprus once the Ethnarch of the Phanar removes his name permanently from the diptychs.
 

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I know someone who was nearly thrown in prison because one of their religious police saw his cross chain peeking out from under his shirt. If he hadn't outran them to a place where he could quickly remove and hide it, he'd have been in serious trouble.
This is a good example of why I want to never go to those kinds of countries. You can get in very deep trouble for little things that you didn't even realize were crimes.
 

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This is a good example of why I want to never go to those kinds of countries. You can get in very deep trouble for little things that you didn't even realize were crimes.
I had some friends who worked overseas as teachers. I visited them when they were in Izmir, and later got my own place because I liked the city and culture. Some years later they got a plum gig working for an Aramco school in Saudi Arabia. They stayed there for 20 years and I didn’t bother staying in touch. I don’t what to say to someone who’d put up with Wahhabism that long for money.
 

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Here are the parts where you gave good keypoints on how GOARCH decisionmaking bodies function:

Theoretically, it sounds like if the GOARCH leadership made a big enough "unorthodox" mistake, either in ecclesiology, doctrine, or administration, then:
1. Metropolitan Clergy-Laity Assemblies could elect "orthodox" delegates to Metropolis Councils.
2. Metropolitan Assemblies could submit amendments to Archdiocesan Regulations to the Archdiocesan Congresses.
3. GOARCH's clergy and laity could elect "orthodox" delegates to an Archdiocesan Clergy-Laity Congress, and the Congress could then adopt the Metropolises' "orthodox" amendments.
4. Do the Archdiocesan Congresses also elect any members of the Archdiocesan Councils? I am guessing from that the answer is Yes, because the 2018 Archdiocesan Congress voted on:

SOURCE: https://clergylaity.s3.amazonaws.co...f-motions-from-2018-clergy-laity-congress.pdf

So it seems that in this scenario, "orthodox" Archdiocesan Congress delegates could elect "orthodox" delegates onto the Archdiocesan Council and could vote to give the Council with its new, "orthodox" majority sufficient authority that might be able to return GOARCH onto an "orthodox" path even if the Eparchial Synod desired otherwise.

But on the other hand, you wrote that "synods are the highest bodies", referring in particular to Constantinople's Patriarchal synod and GOARCH's Eparchial synod. Plus, Constantinople controls elections of hierarchs, so theoretically it could make sure that the Eparchy's synod of hierarchs agrees with Constantinople's stances on every issue, whether right or wrong, so long as it found hierarchs who supported its stances. And if the Eparchial Synod is really the highest body, then regardless of whether its decisions are right or wrong, its "synod-topped" structure of administration might let it override any decision taken by an "orthodox" Archdiocesan Council.

So the next question becomes what would happen if an "orthodox" Archdiocesan Council was in opposition to an Eparchial Synod. Based on what FULK NERA wrote below, it appears that the Eparchial Synod could always override GOARCH's Archdiocesan Council:


In that case, if the issue was important enough, Greek parishes would want to leave GOARCH like Episcopalian Churches left the EC USA. In that case, who owns GOARCH parishes' property? GOARCH's recent Supreme Court brief is making a circuitous argument that GOARCH's leadership owns all its parishes' property because the property is for the purpose of following Greek Orthodoxy, and because supposedly only GOARCH's leadership and not secular courts decide whether parishes are following Greek Orthodoxy. I haven't studied the issue deeply enough, but it seems to me that GOARCH needs to have some regulation specifying that GOARCH owns all property if that is what GOARCH wants, instead of GOARCH just relying on this circuitous argument to claim ownership.
I’ve never heard of any Greek parish leaving GOARCH. There is a strong ethnic loyalty preventing it. If one did the property would be forfeit to the Metropolis, hands down. The court has no interest in church matters and hierarchical ownership of all deeds is not controversial.
Do you know why all OCA parishes are owned by their respective Parish Councils? It’s because the Living Church sued a parish in Manhattan for the property Moscow wanted to liquidate. It mattered not one whit to the NY court that the church authorities in Moscow had been replaced by Bolsheviks. Immediately after this loss the Metropolia instructed its Dioceses to sell all properties to Parish Councils for $1 each to prevent further loss.
 

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Patriarch of Moscow is already making moves for the preservation (and expansion) of Orthodoxy in Asia Minor, Greece, Africa and Cyprus
I am familiar with what Moscow is doing with the priests who have petitioned them in Africa, but, what are they doing in Greece/Cyprus/Turkey?
 

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I am familiar with what Moscow is doing with the priests who have petitioned them in Africa, but, what are they doing in Greece/Cyprus/Turkey?
I think that they are not doing anything in Greece/Cyprus/Turkey at the moment.
Based on what Ialmisry is saying and what I've read, anything like that at this point would just be the MP making considerations about what it could or would do in those places if the CP excommunicated the MP.
 

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Who's "we"?
We Orthodox hold to the Orthodox praxis, taxis and dogma of ecclesiastical structure. The Phanar has decided to go its own way alone, and it will play out the same way when the Vatican did the same-except, that unlike the disappearance of Orthodoxy in Italy, the Patriarch of Moscow is already making moves for the preservation (and expansion) of Orthodoxy in Asia Minor, Greece, Africa and Cyprus once the Ethnarch of the Phanar removes his name permanently from the diptychs.
Russia doesn't hold the majority of churches on there side though. In fact they are alone. Its easy to brain wash millions of people through national state run tv.
You know and I know, that if the MP even flinched, Putin would have his head.
 

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I think that they are not doing anything in Greece/Cyprus/Turkey at the moment.
Based on what Ialmisry is saying and what I've read, anything like that at this point would just be the MP making considerations about what it could or would do in those places if the CP excommunicated the MP.
I don't think he has to excommunicate the MP. The MP is doing a good job of removing himself by not honoring the EP at the liturgy any longer.
 

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Russia doesn't hold the majority of churches on there side though. In fact they are alone. Its easy to brain wash millions of people through national state run tv.
The issue of whether the CP is the supreme head over all Orthodox is not a matter of brainwashing millions through staterun Russian TV because most EO churches aren't in Russia and they reject the CP's claim of lordship over them.

James' and John's mother asked who would replace Jesus as the head of the apostles, and Jesus answer her basically that this is NOT supposed to be how this is going to work in Matthew 20:
25. But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them.
26. It shall not be this way among you.
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant...
The EO Churches' relationship with the CP is between brothers and they are AUTO CEPHALOUS. This means that they are headed by THEMSELVES, and NOT headed by Constantinople.
 
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