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How Does Decisionmaking at GOARCH Assemblies Work?

Tzimis

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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.
That's correct, but when a dispute arose, the EP stepped in because he was asked to from one of the parties in the dispute. The EP then obliged to settle the dispute.
Its in perfect conformity of the canons.
 

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That's correct, but when a dispute arose, the EP stepped in because he was asked to from one of the parties in the dispute.
Jesus doesn't say that one brother gets to be Supreme Leader when someone requests him to rule against another brother. It says that none of the brothers are the supreme ruler. period.

Further, the CP's position is not just about when a dispute arose. Its position is that it is the supreme ruler and sine qua none of Orthodox unity like Jesus is and the Roman Pope claims to be.

Further, in the case of the OCU, the CP was not hearing a dispute request from a canonical church or canonical hierarch.

AUTO cephalous means not Constantinopolocephalous.
 

Tzimis

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  • The right to hear appeals, if invited, regarding disputes between clergy (Canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council)
  • The right to ordain bishops for areas outside defined canonical boundaries (Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council
This is all the authority necessary to intervene in disputes outside of his jurisdiction.
These canons are binding and your church also agrees to them. Ask your bishop, if you dont believe me.
 

Tzimis

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further, in the case of the OCU, the CP was not hearing a dispute request from a canonical church or canonical hierarch.
In a dispute, usually both sides claim this.
 

rakovsky

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In a dispute, usually both sides claim this.
In the case of the OCU, the CP had already been telling them for decades that they were noncanonical and at one point wrote that only the MP had authority to overturn the decision.
 

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  • The right to ordain bishops for areas outside defined canonical boundaries (Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council
The CP misinterprets Canon 28 to give them authority over all "barbarian" areas, when in fact it only states that it pertains to three specifically named dioceses.
 

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  • The right to hear appeals, if invited, regarding disputes between clergy (Canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council)
St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain comments on the meaning of this canon:

  • So it is evident that the Canon means that if any bishop or clergyman has a dispute or difference with the Metropolitan of an exarchy, let him apply to the Exarch of the diocese; which is the same thing as saying that clergymen and metropolitans subject to the throne of Constantinople must have their case tried either before the Exarch of the diocese in which they are situated, or before the Bishop of Constantinople, as before a Patriarch of their own. It did not say that if any clergyman has a dispute or difference with the Metropolitan of any diocese or parish whatever, they must be tried before the Bishop of Constantinople... That is why Zonaras too says that the Bishop of Constantinople is not necessarily entitled to sit as judge over all Metropolitans, but (only) over those who are judicially subject to him (interpretation of c. XVII of the present 4th C.). And in his interpretation of c. V of Sardica the same authority says: "The Bishop of Constantinople must hear the appeals only of those who are subject to the Bishop of Constantinople, precisely as the Bishop of Rome must hear the appeals only of those who are subject to the Bishop of Rome."[3]

If one does not read the canon as St. Nicodemos suggests, it is possible to conclude that Constantinople could even overrule Rome, something that the pre-Schism Roman church would never have accepted, nor is it likely that any other patriarchate of that time would have either.
 

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  • The right to ordain bishops for areas outside defined canonical boundaries (Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council
This is all the authority necessary to intervene in disputes outside of his jurisdiction.
These canons are binding and your church also agrees to them.
CANON 28
Consequently, the metropolitans – and they alone - of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, as well as the bishops of the aforementioned dioceses who are among the barbarians, shall be ordained by the aforementioned most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople.
 

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Canon 9 has:
But if any Bishop orClergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the Exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let it be tried before him.
Canon 17 has something similar.

John Ramsey notes that this wording means that the appellant could appeal from his local metropolitan's decision and take his appeal up to EITHER his bishop (the "Exarch of the Diocese") OR to Constantinople, but could NOT appeal against a decision by his bishop and take his new appeal to Constantinople.
the two canons above are speaking of an appeal from a metropolitan synodal decision. The appellant has the right to choose one of two options, either to appeal to the exarch of the province or to appeal to Constantinople. This is an either or choice. It does not permit a further appeal from the exarch to Constantinople and only provides a choice from the province. So a presbyter with an issue with his bishop in the city of Ionopolis would have his case heard before the synod of the Paphlagonia, under the metropolitan jurisdiction of the bishop of Gangra, the metropolitan see of that province. Then, if a party is unhappy with the decision he may appeal either to the exarch of the diocese, the bishop of Nicomedia, or to the bishop of Constantinople. Choosing the bishop of Nicomedia does not permit a further appeal to Constantinople.

Further, notice that in the wording of Canon 9, there is no mention of appealing a decision by a Patriarch and taking the appeal up higher next to Constantinople. In fact, the only patriarch mentioned in the canon's discussion on making appeals at all is the Patriarch of Constantinople. This context implies that Canon 9 is specifically talking about appeals made WITHIN the realm of Constantinople. So the canon is NOT talking about a clergy appealing against a decision by the Pope of Rome or by another Patriarch and taking the appeal "up" to Constantinople.

Ramsey continues:
Adding to this, we know from other sources that there was no appeal from a patriarch hearing an appeal. This is consistent with the canons whether interpreted in a narrow or in a wide sense because the appeal is an either/or situation both to a final court. (Note, this does not exclude asking for Rome to hear a case of first instance between the exarch and one of his clergy or bishops of the diocese. What is forbidden is a case heard by a patriarch on appeal from any further appeal, not a case of first instance involving the patriarch.)
He notes that Canon 9 can be read to give appeal powers to Constantinople that are within the powers Canon 28 gives to Constantinople, ie. appeal powers limited to the bishops that Constantinople ordained within its own limited boundaries. This is apparently the most reasonable reading of Canon 9, because otherwise clergy under Rome, the foremost see, could appeal to Constantinople, a lower see.
 

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In the case of the OCU, the CP had already been telling them for decades that they were noncanonical and at one point wrote that only the MP had authority to overturn the decision.
Source
 

Tzimis

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Canon 9 has:

Canon 17 has something similar.

John Ramsey notes that this wording means that the appellant could appeal from his local metropolitan's decision and take his appeal up to EITHER his bishop (the "Exarch of the Diocese") OR to Constantinople, but could NOT appeal against a decision by his bishop and take his new appeal to Constantinople.


Further, notice that in the wording of Canon 9, there is no mention of appealing a decision by a Patriarch and taking the appeal up higher next to Constantinople. In fact, the only patriarch mentioned in the canon's discussion on making appeals at all is the Patriarch of Constantinople. This context implies that Canon 9 is specifically talking about appeals made WITHIN the realm of Constantinople. So the canon is NOT talking about a clergy appealing against a decision by the Pope of Rome or by another Patriarch and taking the appeal "up" to Constantinople.

Ramsey continues:


He notes that Canon 9 can be read to give appeal powers to Constantinople that are within the powers Canon 28 gives to Constantinople, ie. appeal powers limited to the bishops that Constantinople ordained within its own limited boundaries. This is apparently the most reasonable reading of Canon 9, because otherwise clergy under Rome, the foremost see, could appeal to Constantinople, a lower see.
This is just your interpretation. Can you site an orthodox source that agrees with it?
 
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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.
Well it will be interesting to see what happens next month when the Church of Russia meets to decide what to do about Patriarch Bartholomew (formally anathematize him?).

Patriarch Bartholomew will also be visiting the U.S next month (possibly implementing the new GOACharter?) where it is speculated that he will make all Metropolitans bishops who answer directly to the Archbishop, rather than being semi-autonomous. I don’t need to go into detail of the disaster that would be given the current Archbishop.

And finally, the OCA will be going to Russia to meet with Patroarch Kirill I believe.

I’m guessing we will know more in November.

Hopefully the patriarchs heed the calls of Antioch, and continue the Amman synod set forth by Jerusalem to overcome the problems.
 

Fr. George

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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.
I'm always on the fence about this re: Monasteries. The thing I don't like is that some of the parishes have the same attitude. While the monastic communities have the excuse that they are only responsible truly for their own community members, the parish communities are to be not mere caretakers for their parishioners' needs, but are to be evangelistic outposts, with a royal priesthood (the membership; vs. the sacramental priests who are charged with sanctifying their flock) seeking to sanctify the world around them.
 

Fr. George

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Where would that monastery be? if they are nearly all-English why don’t Elder E.’s monasteries use some of their material?
St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, near Perrysville, OH (Ashland County). It's not an Ephraimite monastery, so the others would never look to it for spiritual direction. In its early years it was largely idiorhythmic, but for the last 14-15 years its been under the direction of Fr. Joseph Morris (an import from the Romanian Episcopate of the OCA). Small community, but good people, creating a spiritually peaceful environment.

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.
There is way too much pettiness between some of the groups, but it also seems to go in cycles. The humility some people show (esp. Met. Tikhon) always smooths things over, methinks. I don't know that the lines are always as clear as you've experienced them, though - esp. outside of NY/Bos/Chi. In the areas where I have a lot of experience (Great Lakes / midwest / South) there's a lot of inter-jurisdictional respect and sharing, good participation in the panorthodox brotherhoods, etc. I've known a good number of GOA priests who use the OCA's translation of the Great Book of Needs for rarer texts, the Antiochian Liturgikon for its rubrical precision, etc. And while we have our own HC/HC Press, SVS churns out too many high-quality texts (original and translation) to ignore. (And this isn't even getting to the big crossover - the number of GOA folks who use Ancient Faith Ministries for podcasting and blogging, vs. OCN which was started by a GOA priest.) I'm always an optimist, so consider it both a strength and a weakness of mine, but I'm around a lot of clergy who benefit and utilize the resources and friendships across the aisle (so to speak).
 

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Continuing on your informative post:

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."
Our Eparchial Synod is governed by the Patriarchal Synod. No, there is no impeachment mechanism for the Clergy-Laity or Archdiocesan Council to push for the removal of a hierarch - they can, of course, petition, but only the Patriarchal Synod can remove (and have demonstrated a reluctance to do so officially - preferring, instead, to "transfer" to a vacant titular see, as they did with the former Met. of NJ).

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.
Kinda. Any administrative changes have to be approved by the Patriarchal Synod (who have, by our documents, a 90-day window to do so... but the Patriarchal Synod has repeatedly said they are not bound by our documents, only we are). This is why we don't claim to be even semi-autonomous.

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:
I have yet to see any document anywhere that convinces me that a synod of Hierarchs - especially a Patriarchal Synod - would submit itself to the doctrinal decisions of a clergy-lay body, even if it's described as the highest administrative and legislative body. The Synods of Hierarchs are canonically and historically the arbiters of faith and ecclesial practice in their regions - a reality borne out by the historical record in a way that transcends territorial peculiarities.

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.
That's not what our governance documents claim. Parish property is to be titled in the name of the parish (per both local law and our governance documents), but if there is a split where even a vast majority of parishioners want to exit the Archdiocese, it is the group staying loyal to the Archdiocese that maintains control of the parish property. Very specifically, "the Archdiocese wants to own our property" was a cry from those who wanted to become congregationalists and reject any kind of overarching authority over their parishes. But this was never the case administratively - the GOA doesn't want to own the property.

In the courts, the arguments are not about property ownership, but about the internal workings of a Hierarchical Church. Generally, the civil courts will stay out of the business of hierarchical churches if the churches are abiding by their own internal documents; they'll throw out cases dealing with those matters. They only step in if the groups violate their own documents - and even then, it's not a guarantee that they'll side with the congregants (as the petitioners discovered 15 years ago in their suit re: our most recent Charter).
 

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there needs to be a mechanism to bring parties to the table in disputes. Communion doesn't exist in a vacuum.
nor does it depend on a single hierarch.
Ask Macedonius, Nestorius,
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.
And your Ethnarch with his Muslim Lord Erdoğan?
And why would the MP "flinch"? You see any daylight between HH and Putin's pro-Orthodox, pro-family, pro-Russian policies?


The Phanar has managed only to get three primates to join his Ukrainian folly-and even the three (nor their Ehtnarch) have not managed to get all their Church on board. The remaining 10 stand with Moscow in sticking with the universal condemnation of the so called church under the alleged Met. Epiphanios as a schismatic body of the defrocked and heretical.

We don't get Russian national state run TV here.
 

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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.
The same way the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch removed the heretical Vatican by not honoring its pope at the Divine Liturgy as long as he insisted on being commemorated as "supreme pontiff."
 

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St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, near Perrysville, OH (Ashland County). It's not an Ephraimite monastery, so the others would never look to it for spiritual direction. In its early years it was largely idiorhythmic, but for the last 14-15 years its been under the direction of Fr. Joseph Morris (an import from the Romanian Episcopate of the OCA). Small community, but good people, creating a spiritually peaceful environment.



There is way too much pettiness between some of the groups, but it also seems to go in cycles. The humility some people show (esp. Met. Tikhon) always smooths things over, methinks. I don't know that the lines are always as clear as you've experienced them, though - esp. outside of NY/Bos/Chi. In the areas where I have a lot of experience (Great Lakes / midwest / South) there's a lot of inter-jurisdictional respect and sharing, good participation in the panorthodox brotherhoods, etc. I've known a good number of GOA priests who use the OCA's translation of the Great Book of Needs for rarer texts, the Antiochian Liturgikon for its rubrical precision, etc. And while we have our own HC/HC Press, SVS churns out too many high-quality texts (original and translation) to ignore. (And this isn't even getting to the big crossover - the number of GOA folks who use Ancient Faith Ministries for podcasting and blogging, vs. OCN which was started by a GOA priest.) I'm always an optimist, so consider it both a strength and a weakness of mine, but I'm around a lot of clergy who benefit and utilize the resources and friendships across the aisle (so to speak).
Nice to hear that in some places Greek clergy have humility. Add the Metr. of SF to your list of places where GOARCH clergy (and laity taught by them) form a world of ethnic church life unto themselves. Not to be outdone by the chauvinism of much smaller representation of Romanians, Greek clergy here behave and teach an ethnocentrism that leaves no room for ‘the Russians’ as they still call OCA. Since Bp. Spiridon Kezios’s Narthex Press is so prolific I don’t think any Greek priest west of the Great Plains has ever heard of SVOTS & STOTS presses or seen a red-bound Book of Needs . I can’t verify this beyond anecdotal evidence, it’s just that most every kleros and clergy office shelf in these parts is stuffed with hardbound Narthex imprints for every service you can think of. Each feast gets its own volume, replete with every word of the service in idiot-proof fashion, and the Phone Book semi-annual Orthros book still enjoys wide subscription.

Since 2018, with the untoward destruction of church relations initiated by Patr. Bartholomew in Ukraine, the SF Metr. of the GOA has been completely shunned by Abp. Benjamin who sympathizes with the offended Russian clergy (ROCOR’s largest community is in San Francisco). The ecclesiastical aggression of the Phanar has killed enthusiasm for inter-Orthodox activity. Greek clergy here are much closer to the Phanar than they are to the ‘Russian’ clergy across the street. There is no feeling of common cause and the Phanariot clergy seem comfortable as pariahs because they don’t consider the negative feeling to be worth addressing. This is from my observation of things spoken among them casually. As a catechist I have to do damage control because the feelings of nonhellene lay people are not as immune to the miasma that came from the Phanar.

Since winter 2018, Metr. Gerasimos has been heard at least at one point to instruct clergy and laity, reading from a script that can only have been promulgated in the Phanar, to carry the message of C’ple and the entire homogeneia’s outrage at Moscow’s ‘weaponization of sacraments’ (the non-commemoration of Patr. Bartholomew in MP churches) to their respective parishes. I imagine many did amplify the manufactured outrage to go and stir up animus against ‘the Russians’ that surely must include OCA communities next door, since they are considered ‘the Russians’ in GOA parlance. I cannot see this messaging by the local hierarch in his capacity as mouthpiece for the Phanar working good in the communities of GOARCH‘s SF Metr. But I suppose this is mild in comparison to the rhetoric that was enjoined upon Greek clergy in New Jersey to read from the pulpit.

We will look back on these last few years as the tipping point in the decline of the GOA. I can’t see Gerasimos having any ability to mend relations with Benjamin. There is an embattled self-righteousness emanating from the Phanar which convinces all loyal hellenes to double down on their mistakes, relying perhaps on the media to continue to promote Russophobia and Phanariot Papalism. Patr. Bartholomew is coming to these shores (thankfully, only the eastern ones) in a few weeks to open the doors of St. Nicholas Shrine, ready or not, and advertise the exigencies of his See. The same month of November the Moscow Patriarchate is convening an All-Russian Sobor. Metr. Hilarion Alfeyev, the head of external relations for the MP, has already stated that the OCA will be pressured by the MP to express solidarity over the Ukraine situation. The OCA remains the second largest jurisdiction of Orthodox churches in America. Abp. Elpidophoros cannot afford to lose its friendship as Gerasimos has Benjamin and Kyril’s in San Francisco.
 

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This is just your interpretation. Can you site an orthodox source that agrees with it?
Regarding this analysis of Canon 9, suggesting that Constantinople cannot hear appeals from everywhere in the world against other Patriarchates, I was quoting from Fr. John Ramsey, whose self description says:
Priest-monk of the ROCOR in the UK. Distance Tutor for the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, in Cambridge, UK. PhD in Orthodox Christian Ecclesiology.
 

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In the case of the OCU, the CP had already been telling them for decades that they were noncanonical and at one point wrote that only the MP had authority to overturn the decision.
Source
When the MP defrocked Denisenko/Filaret, who became the "KP Primate", Denisenko appealed in 1992 to P. Bartholomew in a letter published in June, 1992.

Then in August 1992, P. Bartholomew wrote to the MP that he accepted the MP's decision, and that he recognized "the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue". OrthoChristian's article below provides the documents in Greek and English:
After Denisenko was defrocked in 1992, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow sent a letter to the primates of the other autocephalous Local Churches to inform them of this decision. In an August 26, 1992 letter, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew responded to Pat. Alexei that he accepted the Moscow Patriarchate’s right to rule on this matter, assuring him that “our Holy Great Church of Christ, recognizing the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue, synodally accepts the decisions regarding the one in question, not desiring to bring any trouble to Your Church.” [See the article for the Documents in Greek and English]
..
Moreover, Denisenko had appealed at that time to Pat. Bartholomew and the other Orthodox primates to lift the ecclesiastical sanctions against him. This appeal was also published in the June 1992 issue of the “Kiev Patriarchate’s” Orthodox Herald. As can be seen from Pat. Bartholomew’s August 1992 letter to Pat. Alexei, the Ecumenical Throne did not accept this appeal.
...

After the 1997 anathematization of Denisenko, Pat. Alexei again addressed his brother primates to inform them of this decision, and Pat. Bartholomew again responded to Pat. Alexei, acknowledging and accepting this decision of the Russian Orthodox Church, noting that the Ecumenical Patriarchate would have no ecclesial communion with Denisenko.

His original 1997 Greek letter is now also available:

 

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Patriarch Bartholomew will also be visiting the U.S next month (possibly implementing the new GOACharter?) where it is speculated that he will make all Metropolitans bishops who answer directly to the Archbishop, rather than being semi-autonomous. I don’t need to go into detail of the disaster that would be given the current Archbishop.
You are talking about making them "auxillary bishops," I believe. You need to talk alittle bit more to explain how this would be a disaster for the CP.
 

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The same way the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch removed the heretical Vatican by not honoring its pope at the Divine Liturgy as long as he insisted on being commemorated as "supreme pontiff."
This never happened though, Its fake Russian propaganda. You choose to eat it up.
 

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When the MP defrocked Denisenko/Filaret, who became the "KP Primate", Denisenko appealed in 1992 to P. Bartholomew in a letter published in June, 1992.

Then in August 1992, P. Bartholomew wrote to the MP that he accepted the MP's decision, and that he recognized "the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue". OrthoChristian's article below provides the documents in Greek and English:
That's correct. It was a appeal to the EP and the EP handed down his judgement on the matter. The MP never felt compelled to do it on his own. But seeked approval.
Only proves my point that the EP is the last word on the matter.
That was then and this is now. So the same judgment doesn't stand as time and place have changed since then.
A new country has emerged.
 

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Regarding this analysis of Canon 9, suggesting that Constantinople cannot hear appeals from everywhere in the world against other Patriarchates, I was quoting from Fr. John Ramsey, whose self description says:
He only stated that the border were never really defined. The world as we know it today is different than at that time and it was purposely left open.
 

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You are talking about making them "auxillary bishops," I believe. You need to talk alittle bit more to explain how this would be a disaster for the CP.
It would cause some upset in GOARCH but maybe not amount to a disaster. I typically underestimate the cynicism of GOA clergy and their ability to simply suck it up, knowing which side of their bread is buttered. But to my mind the generational flip-flop from Iakovos’ time when they were just called Bishops of the Exarchate to the post-Iakovos current situation of calling them Metropolitans requiring their Turkish citizenship (with frequent expensive visits to Istanbul with their entourages to keep their citizenship current) to serve on the Synod Endemousa and which renders the American Synod a moot entity, I think, back to making an exarchial synod of them again now that they trust the Abp. to function as the Phanar’s agent, will demonstrate how flimsy the GOA is and its utility not for American evangelism of Orthodoxy but as a tool of the Phanar to work its exigencies regardless of the necessities of evangelism.
 

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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.
Yeah, I have a friend who knows Latin and converted from the RC Church a few years ago, partly because it was getting too modern for him. He visited an Ephraimite convent that is beautiful and the service feels quite special. A nun asked him giddily how he liked it, and he said he couldn't understand it because he doesn't understand Greek.

Personally, I like their service, can follow it somewhat because it's a familiar Liturgy, and am fine with them doing it in Greek. But since I just know English and Russian, they are more accessible.

Most or all of the NT was written in Greek instead of Hebrew because its authors wanted it to be accessible to the world.
 

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Then in August 1992, P. Bartholomew wrote to the MP that he accepted the MP's decision, and that he recognized "the fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church’s exclusive competence on this issue". OrthoChristian's article below provides the documents in Greek and English:
That's correct. It was a appeal to the EP and the EP handed down his judgement on the matter. The MP never felt compelled to do it on his own. But seeked approval.
Only proves my point that the EP is the last word on the matter.
When FIlaret wrote to Constantinople, the Constantinople Patriarch explicitly stated that it accepted the MP's judgement and that the MP has exclusive competence on the issue.

If you have exclusive competence on an issue, it means that your competence excludes others from being competent or capable of judging the issue. It means that anyone else, such as P. Bartholomew, is not competent to judge the issue.

The MP did it on its own and did not seek the CP's approval, and the CP stated that it accepted this and that the MP has exclusive competence on the topic.
 

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Well, thanks for the discussion, Tzimis. I don't recall having arguments/debates with you elsewhere on the forum, and recall typically liking where you defended Orthodoxy there.
I like you too, But, its a little dishonest to quote only part of my reply, in an attempt to look victorious.
 

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I like you too, But, its a little dishonest to quote only part of my reply, in an attempt to look victorious.
My intention was to reply to you in general, and that was the first sentence of your message to me.

I invite to to go back and respond more fully to my replies to you.

P. Bartholomew in 1992-1997 said after the "KP Primate" Filaret tried to appeal to P. Bartholomew that:
1. The Constantinople Patriarch accepts the MP's decision to defrock Filaret.
2. The MP has "exclusive competence on this issue." "Exclusive" means that the MP's competence "excludes" anyone else from being competent to adjudicate the issue.

Then in 2018, P. Bartholomew reversed course on his ecclesiology, announcing that he has competence to reinstate "KP" Filaret, whom he has already officially considered schismatic.
 

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Nice to hear that in some places Greek clergy have humility.
Uh, thanks, I guess?

Add the Metr. of SF to your list of places where GOARCH clergy (and laity taught by them) form a world of ethnic church life unto themselves. Not to be outdone by the chauvinism of much smaller representation of Romanians, Greek clergy here behave and teach an ethnocentrism that leaves no room for ‘the Russians’ as they still call OCA. Since Bp. Spiridon Kezios’s Narthex Press is so prolific I don’t think any Greek priest west of the Great Plains has ever heard of SVOTS & STOTS presses or seen a red-bound Book of Needs . I can’t verify this beyond anecdotal evidence, it’s just that most every kleros and clergy office shelf in these parts is stuffed with hardbound Narthex imprints for every service you can think of. Each feast gets its own volume, replete with every word of the service in idiot-proof fashion, and the Phone Book semi-annual Orthros book still enjoys wide subscription.

Since 2018, with the untoward destruction of church relations initiated by Patr. Bartholomew in Ukraine, the SF Metr. of the GOA has been completely shunned by Abp. Benjamin who sympathizes with the offended Russian clergy (ROCOR’s largest community is in San Francisco). The ecclesiastical aggression of the Phanar has killed enthusiasm for inter-Orthodox activity. Greek clergy here are much closer to the Phanar than they are to the ‘Russian’ clergy across the street. There is no feeling of common cause and the Phanariot clergy seem comfortable as pariahs because they don’t consider the negative feeling to be worth addressing. This is from my observation of things spoken among them casually. As a catechist I have to do damage control because the feelings of nonhellene lay people are not as immune to the miasma that came from the Phanar.

Since winter 2018, Metr. Gerasimos has been heard at least at one point to instruct clergy and laity, reading from a script that can only have been promulgated in the Phanar, to carry the message of C’ple and the entire homogeneia’s outrage at Moscow’s ‘weaponization of sacraments’ (the non-commemoration of Patr. Bartholomew in MP churches) to their respective parishes. I imagine many did amplify the manufactured outrage to go and stir up animus against ‘the Russians’ that surely must include OCA communities next door, since they are considered ‘the Russians’ in GOA parlance. I cannot see this messaging by the local hierarch in his capacity as mouthpiece for the Phanar working good in the communities of GOARCH‘s SF Metr. But I suppose this is mild in comparison to the rhetoric that was enjoined upon Greek clergy in New Jersey to read from the pulpit.
This is really strange, and certainly a localized feud (akin to Boston's), but that's not normative for the GOA-OCA as far as I can tell. The Archbishop and Met. Tikhon have a seemingly very good relationship, and have concelebrated on a number of occasions (including, iirc, when Met. Tikhon concelebrated at the Phanar for Sunday of Orthodoxy a number of years ago - I've heard members of the OCA administration rave about the hospitality and kindness they received at the EP); the same is definitely true here, and (again, iirc) in Chicago. They've been nothing but kind to us, and we've done our best to reciprocate. But the West Coast is its own ecosystem, different from East even in the ethnic enclaves. "Flyover country" seems to be better adjusted to the need for cooperation, and you tend to see more routine concelebrations, pan-Orthodox celebrations, etc.
 

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Uh, thanks, I guess?



This is really strange, and certainly a localized feud (akin to Boston's), but that's not normative for the GOA-OCA as far as I can tell. The Archbishop and Met. Tikhon have a seemingly very good relationship, and have concelebrated on a number of occasions (including, iirc, when Met. Tikhon concelebrated at the Phanar for Sunday of Orthodoxy a number of years ago - I've heard members of the OCA administration rave about the hospitality and kindness they received at the EP); the same is definitely true here, and (again, iirc) in Chicago. They've been nothing but kind to us, and we've done our best to reciprocate. But the West Coast is its own ecosystem, different from East even in the ethnic enclaves. "Flyover country" seems to be better adjusted to the need for cooperation, and you tend to see more routine concelebrations, pan-Orthodox celebrations, etc.
As one who’s been on the scene for decades, I see the bad state of relations here since winter 2018 is just the solidification of episcopal and communal relations already present. Bp. Tikhon Fitzgerald of San Francisco, who preceded Abp. Benjamin had already established a chill toward Metr. Gerasimos’ antecedent Bp. Anthony. Greek clergy who were cordial toward OCA clergy have been replaced in places by incoming junior who never bother to introduce themselves.

The countenancing of the crime of Patr. Bartholomew against the norms of relations between Local Churches is understood by all who’d call it a crime to be a part of GOA culture. The very loyal Phanariots in the offices on Valencia St. have don’t nothing recently to build bridges and have given the impression for a very long time that as far as they are concerned all the churches here ought by rights to belong to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The strong Russian church presence centered on the Geary St. Cathedral tilts the opinion away from ignoring the outrage from the Phanar that persists, but the feeling did not originate in 2018. Bp. Kyril of ROCOR’s Western Diocese is known to be strongly traditionalist even to the point of disparaging the New Calendar and priests who keep it, so he would just as soon not speak to Metr. Gerasimos as his very typikon offends his sensibilites. On a lay level, Greek Orthodox churchgoers seem to be completely uninterested in OCA life, down to the smallest details. An example: at my OCA parish many of us drove to the Greek church to attend the Vespers for their patronal feast. I recall there were no Greek parishioners present at all that evening but a very few and the pews were fairly well populated by our visiting members. We greeted them with warmth congratulating them on their feast day, and invited them to reciprocate. The response was a cold, “amd why would we do that?”. This from a parishioner of the priest who was close to our priest. We never did see a single one of them in our church, ever. And the priest that came after never introduced himself to our priest, not to this day years later. I think this says a lot about Greek Orthodox attitudes in the West.
 

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My intention was to reply to you in general, and that was the first sentence of your message to me.

I invite to to go back and respond more fully to my replies to you.

P. Bartholomew in 1992-1997 said after the "KP Primate" Filaret tried to appeal to P. Bartholomew that:
1. The Constantinople Patriarch accepts the MP's decision to defrock Filaret.
2. The MP has "exclusive competence on this issue." "Exclusive" means that the MP's competence "excludes" anyone else from being competent to adjudicate the issue.

Then in 2018, P. Bartholomew reversed course on his ecclesiology, announcing that he has competence to reinstate "KP" Filaret, whom he has already officially considered schismatic.
The reason he changed course is because in the interim Ukraine became an independent nation. So it fell back into the EP's jurisdiction.
 

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When FIlaret wrote to Constantinople, the Constantinople Patriarch explicitly stated that it accepted the MP's judgement and that the MP has exclusive competence on the issue.

If you have exclusive competence on an issue, it means that your competence excludes others from being competent or capable of judging the issue. It means that anyone else, such as P. Bartholomew, is not competent to judge the issue.

The MP did it on its own and did not seek the CP's approval, and the CP stated that it accepted this and that the MP has exclusive competence on the topic.
This is just the latest failure that echoes the Phanar’s relationship with the OCA. it was the EP who instructed the Metropolia to seek its autocephaly from its ‘mother church’ Moscow. And when they did, amd handily received it, His All-Holiness refused to recognize it. They uniquely hold the opinion that even when they recognize another‘s jurisdiction, it still doesn’t matter. They only recognized the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1990, when it had been granted it by Antioch BEFORE THE ECUMENICAL THRONE WAS EVEN ESTABLISHED. The late recognition did not mention, if I recall correctly, that ancient establishment but only dealt with the post-WWII normalization of relations with Moscow which had swallowed up the Georgian church by the end of the XIX c. but which relinquished it at the Sobor of 1917-18.
 

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The reason he changed course is because in the interim Ukraine became an independent nation. So it fell back into the EP's jurisdiction.
That’s an absurd innovation with no canonical meaning. When the EP ruled the Metropolis of Kiev it was nowhere near the extent of the modern national borders.
This statement you made shows how propaganda makes honest argumentation impossible.
 

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The reason he changed course is because in the interim Ukraine became an independent nation. So it fell back into the EP's jurisdiction.
Ukraine was an independent nation in August 1992 and 1997 when P. Bartholomew declared that the MP had exclusive competence and that he accepted the MP's decision.

When is Ukrainian Independence Day?
...
Independence Day is always celebrated on August 24th and marks Ukraine's declaration of independence from the U.S.S.R. in 1991.
 

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That’s an absurd innovation with no canonical meaning. When the EP ruled the Metropolis of Kiev it was nowhere near the extent of the modern national borders.
This statement you made shows how propaganda makes honest argumentation impossible.
Even the absurd innovation had meaning, the argument would still be wrong because Ukraine was independent in 1992-1997.

Tzimis is trying to say that P. Bartholomew in 1992 said that only the MP could judge Filaret's case because Ukraine was a republic in the USSR, and then P. Bartholomew "changed course" later because Ukraine got independence later...

But in reality, Ukraine's independence day is declared as Agust 24, 1991, meaning that Ukraine was already independent for a year.

So Tzimis' argument defending CP Unilateral Supremacy is wrong on multiple levels as usual.
 

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As a catechist I have to do damage control because the feelings of nonhellene lay people are not as immune to the miasma that came from the Phanar.
I am curious whether GOARCH is catechizing converts to believe that the "EP" is the supreme head of all Orthodox Christians. My sense is that this is a relatively new "party line" since 2018, because for example in 1992-1997, P. Bartholomew said that the MP had "exclusive competence" to deal with Met. Filaret. I kind of recall the CP asserting some powers earlier in the 20th century when granting Tomoses, but outside of those incidents, I don't recall the CP or GOARCH typically talking this way about the CP, as if he was the supreme head over all Orthodoxy. The CP's "First Without Equals" ecclesiology seems really pushed alot by Abp. Elpidophoros since a couple years becoming GOARCH's head when he wrote a declaration by that title.


Since winter 2018, Metr. Gerasimos has been heard at least at one point to instruct clergy and laity, reading from a script that can only have been promulgated in the Phanar, to carry the message of C’ple and the entire homogeneia’s outrage at Moscow’s ‘weaponization of sacraments’ (the non-commemoration of Patr. Bartholomew in MP churches) to their respective parishes. I imagine many did amplify the manufactured outrage to go and stir up animus against ‘the Russians’ that surely must include OCA communities next door, since they are considered ‘the Russians’ in GOA parlance.
I wouldn't interpret it as directed straightly at the OCA. It comes across more as red-baiting-style anti-MP false polemics.


But I suppose this is mild in comparison to the rhetoric that was enjoined upon Greek clergy in New Jersey to read from the pulpit.
I find it pretty ironic that Met. Evangelos of NJ was "transferred" to a comatose "diocese" for western Turkey by the CP, since Met. Evangelos seemed to be pompously towing the CP's "party line" on Ukraine in accord with the CP's supremacy ecclesiology.


Abp. Elpidophoros cannot afford to lose its friendship as Gerasimos has Benjamin and Kyril’s in San Francisco.
You really think Abp. Elpidophoros can't afford to lose the OCA's fellowship? In his 2009 Hellenic College speech he complained about the "so called" OCA and criticized Met. Jonah. GOARCH would lose alot of interactions in organizations that have the OCA like OCMC and OCF, but Abp. Elpidophoros seems not to care about that as much about following the CP's "church politics." Further, on the other side of the coin, I think that the OCA collectively would not be real happy to cut fellowship with GOARCH.
 

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Even the absurd innovation had meaning, the argument would still be wrong because Ukraine was independent in 1992-1997.

Tzimis is trying to say that P. Bartholomew in 1992 said that only the MP could judge Filaret's case because Ukraine was a republic in the USSR, and then P. Bartholomew "changed course" later because Ukraine got independence later...

But in reality, Ukraine's independence day is declared as Agust 24, 1991, meaning that Ukraine was already independent for a year.

So Tzimis' argument defending CP Unilateral Supremacy is wrong on multiple levels as usual.
They drew up there constitution in 1996. So the time line does fall into place.
 

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I am curious whether GOARCH is catechizing converts to believe that the "EP" is the supreme head of all Orthodox Christians. My sense is that this is a relatively new "party line" since 2018, because for example in 1992-1997, P. Bartholomew said that the MP had "exclusive competence" to deal with Met. Filaret. I kind of recall the CP asserting some powers earlier in the 20th century when granting Tomoses, but outside of those incidents, I don't recall the CP or GOARCH typically talking this way about the CP, as if he was the supreme head over all Orthodoxy. The CP's "First Without Equals" ecclesiology seems really pushed alot by Abp. Elpidophoros since a couple years becoming GOARCH's head when he wrote a declaration by that title.



I wouldn't interpret it as directed straightly at the OCA. It comes across more as red-baiting-style anti-MP false polemics.



I find it pretty ironic that Met. Evangelos of NJ was "transferred" to a comatose "diocese" for western Turkey by the CP, since Met. Evangelos seemed to be pompously towing the CP's "party line" on Ukraine in accord with the CP's supremacy ecclesiology.



You really think Abp. Elpidophoros can't afford to lose the OCA's fellowship? In his 2009 Hellenic College speech he complained about the "so called" OCA and criticized Met. Jonah. GOARCH would lose alot of interactions in organizations that have the OCA like OCMC and OCF, but Abp. Elpidophoros seems not to care about that as much about following the CP's "church politics." Further, on the other side of the coin, I think that the OCA collectively would not be real happy to cut fellowship with GOARCH.
Metr. Gerasimos read the EP missal enjoining reaction against Moscow among American parishes. He specifically told the gathering to carry this war to their communities. Since Greek Orthodox are trained not to distinguish the OCA as Local Autocephalous Church and always call it ‘The Russian Church’ I cannot imagine how this would not affect GOA-OCA relations. As I wrote before, the chill here is not new.

On August 30, 2019 Abp. Elpidophoros met Greek clergy in Long Beach while on his Victory Tour. He told them at that time that the OCA would soon become part of GOARCH. I recall a conversation with a Romanian priest serving the Greeks here where he told me the OCA would soon become part of the Russian Orthodox Church again, because Putin. Both of these statements show how complete the ignorance of exigency and sentiment in the OCA is among Greek clergy. The news of Elpidophoros‘ speech was told me by a simple priest in GOA who was excited to share good news.

These men of good will have no idea what the OCA is about or why it should exist. A Greek priest friend of mine I’ve known for decades believes the OCA is about to go bankrupt because of a huge scandal that occurred 12 years ago (that was modest compared to the fiduciary scandals of the GOA even more recently). It’s as though the only news that ever penetrated the indifference regarding the OCA was the Herman Swaiko-Robt. Kondratik one outed by Dn. Eric Wheeler. But that’s how their mindset handles the topic.

I do not claim insight into the mind of Abp. Elpidophoros, but in reality he cannot afford to lose the goodwill of the second largest Orthodox jurisdiction on these shores. He may very well think that because Metr. Tikhon concelebrated, or invited him to tea that he now already owns all our churches. With his novel theology propping up a Divine Monarchial icon in Phanariotism, perhaps his ecclesiology is warped in other departments. To believe for a moment that the OCA would have anything to gain by becoming another ethnic (representing the American ethnos) satrapy languishing alongside the moribund Carpatho-Rusyn and Albanian dioceses here, shows sublime lack of insight and empathy. That’s not what I consider 4D chess.
 
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