The State of the GOA

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Jennifer

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I shouldn't write this and will surely regret it but I don't always exercise the best judgment so here goes...

I suspect that greekischristian is being deliberately provocative and that some time in Thessaloniki will do him a lot of good but I can't help but be offended by at least half of what he writes.  I've had very little exposure to the GOA so I don't know what 'normal' GOA parishes are like.  However, I read GisC's posts and I wonder if he is representative of the GOA as a whole. 

I don't want to get into jurisdiction bashing here but I can't but be concerned about the GOA knowing that GisC is a graduate of their seminary.  Several things strike me from reading his posts. 

1)  Ethnocentricism (a better term would be that phrase that starts with a "p" that I can't remember how to spell) - The Greeks came up in a conversation with some other Orthodox Christians and I told them about how GisC had written that it was blasphemy to serve the liturgy in any language other than Greek.  One of our priests asked "Such a person exists?"  Every non-Greek Orthodox seems to have a story about the "chauvinism" of the Greeks.  I personally feel that I would not be welcome in a Greek parish. 

2)  Papism - I must confess that I was shocked to read about submission to the the "Oecumenical Throne."  I've never heard an Orthodox Christian use that kind of terminology.  I have a hard time believing that this is representative of real Greek Orthodoxy. 

3)  Disdain For Tradition - Despite GisC's claims to be traditional in his personal practices, many of us here sense a kind of underlying disdain for traditional Orthodox Christians in GisC's posts.  When cornered, GisC tries to explain but it seems to me that only someone who doesn't like traditional Orthodox would write that those who think women should cover their heads in church would be happier in Islam.  Now he tells us that those of us who cover our heads would be talked about behind our backs if we attended a Greek parish.  His recent posts about pietistic cultism go too far IMHO. 

4)  Disdain for Monasticism - His posts about bishops being better than monastics seem consistent with his other posts.  His posts make me wonder about the hysteria over Elder Ephraim's monasteries.  Now I'm beginning to wonder if those in the GOA who warned that they were cults simply didn't understand or respect monasticism. 

Without getting into jurisdiction bashing (if that's possible), does GisC represent the 'mainstream' of the GOA? 

 

Asteriktos

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My only "real life" experience with the GOA is a visit to one of their more moderate monasteries for the weekend, a visit to one of their more traditional monasteries for a few hours, and a visit to one of their churches for liturgy. But fwiw, based on those few experiences, they all seemed pretty normal to me. I did get a few looks at the liturgy, but then I do have an awkward way about me so who knows why they were looking; I was uncomfortable enough that I left the liturgy early, but that could have been my social anxiety/issues rearing it's ugly head :) It will be interested to see what others say, especially those in the GOA or who have spouses in the GOA.
 

choirfiend

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The mainstream are some very good people and some who don't know anything other than their culture and their love for it. MBFGW is not a fabrication. I attended a GOA parish for 2 years when I was younger, and while I dont think we were particularly thrilled with being there (liturgy in mostly greek which us kids didnt speak and none of our jurisdiction around for miles) I dont believe we were miserable. I did learn Holy God in greek, but thats about all I retained....) What gets posted here is an anomaly.
 

greekischristian

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I dont know if it's good etiquette to butt in when people are talking about me, but here it goes anyway ;)

Jennifer said:
I suspect that greekischristian is being deliberately provocative
Somewhat, I generally believe what I post, but I may push the issue farther than I normally would for the sake of argument.

and that some time in Thessaloniki will do him a lot of good but I can't help but be offended by at least half of what he writes.
Please, dont be, it's just an internet Message board, nothing is intended to be personal.

1) Ethnocentricism (a better term would be that phrase that starts with a "p" that I can't remember how to spell)
Phyletism, but as I explained over in the thread on whether or not the forum is biased, I still dont fully understand the nature of that accusation.

The Greeks came up in a conversation with some other Orthodox Christians and I told them about how GisC had written that it was blasphemy to serve the liturgy in any language other than Greek.
Wait a second there, I dont remember saying that; I've given several reasons why Greek is the most appropriate language (for the GOA at least) but never even suggested that one is guilty of blasphemy for celibrating in another language.

One of our priests asked "Such a person exists?" Every non-Greek Orthodox seems to have a story about the "chauvinism" of the Greeks. I personally feel that I would not be welcome in a Greek parish.ÂÂ
Fairly typical anti-greek bashing, if it's good natured joking, that's one thing, but I'm guessing these stories were not.

2) Papism - I must confess that I was shocked to read about submission to the the "Oecumenical Throne."  I've never heard an Orthodox Christian use that kind of terminology. I have a hard time believing that this is representative of real Greek Orthodoxy.ÂÂ
My statements simply reflect the reality of the Oecumenical Throne's posistion through the Empire, the Turkokratia, and into this present era. I have not suggested that the Oecumenical Patriarch is either infallible or vicarus christi. And in reference to those under the Omophorion of the Oecumenical Throne (including Mt. Athos), yes, I do expect submission, which is a perfectly canonical expectation. Just as I would expect submission of Serbian Faithful and Serbian Bishops to the Patriarch of Serbia (including the so-called 'Macedonians').

3) Disdain For Tradition - Despite GisC's claims to be traditional in his personal practices, many of us here sense a kind of underlying disdain for traditional Orthodox Christians in GisC's posts. When cornered, GisC tries to explain but it seems to me that only someone who doesn't like traditional Orthodox would write that those who think women should cover their heads in church would be happier in Islam. Now he tells us that those of us who cover our heads would be talked about behind our backs if we attended a Greek parish. His recent posts about pietistic cultism go too far IMHO.ÂÂ
My objection is to Tradition, but so-called 'Traditionalism.' Those who take it upon themselves to elevate accidents of tradition to the level of Dogma, without the approval of, or even against the will of, an authoritive synod. As I've said before, I will say again, there is nothing wrong with the personal practice of these traditions, the problem is with those who try to dogmatize them. Furthermore, my statement about 'turning heads' when one wears a headscarf is not a posistion statement, it is an observation about some Orthodox Churches i've been to (and in which I have witnessed similar behaviour). Mind you, I've also witnessed parishoners publically scolding people for not Kneeling at the Consecration on Sundays, the fact that I have observed this does not mean I support it.

4) Disdain for Monasticism - His posts about bishops being better than monastics seem consistent with his other posts. His posts make me wonder about the hysteria over Elder Ephraim's monasteries. Now I'm beginning to wonder if those in the GOA who warned that they were cults simply didn't understand or respect monasticism.ÂÂ
There is a degree of Anti-Monasticism in the GOA, which has been brought on by the Schism of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline (the source of Archbishop Iakovos' rather severe anti-monasticism) as well as the rebellious and dissident nature of many of the Ephraimite Monasteries, which have been known to mock, rather than obey, their rightful Bishops and Metropolitans; often being a thorn in the side of the Metropolises rather than the aid and resource they should be (For those of you who support English in the Liturgy, I know of one situation where Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco of Blessed Memory wanted to celebrate a Liturgy in English for a Children's Retreat, and was not allowed to Celebrate in the Chapel of an Ephraimite Monastery (which, being withinin his Metropolis, was technically HIS Chapel) because he was not going to use Greek, he ended up having to celebrate the Liturgy in a Barn).

With that said, I have nothing against Monasticism and believe it has an important place in the Church, if properly conducted. Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh has some Monasteries in Ohio, of which he is the Abbot. These monasteries are a great resource for and benifit to his Metropolis; I am personally a friend of one of the Hieromonks from one of these Monasteries, and I have no objection to either him or his Monastery, and only pray for its increase. Monasticism can be a great Benifit to the Church, but only if it's a healthy Monasticism, where the Monks are Subject to their Bishops, and Respect their Bishops as Spiritual Fathers and Authorities.

While I have not been everywhere in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, I believe I can safely say that I counted amongst the Conservatives at Holy Cross. I have drifted towards the Centre during my stay there, but have not Crossed over. I still do not advocate the Marriage of Priests, a Married Episcopacy, Inter-Religious Marriages, unrestricted Inter-Christian Marraiges, Marriages Beyond the Third, a complete overhaul of the Liturgy, Reception of Protestants by Chrismation, the eradication of the Kalimafi, the elimination of monasticism (only dissident monastic communities), requiring kneeling on Sundays, the establishment of Choirs and Organs in the Churches, et cetera...all said and done, I'm still pretty far towards the Conservative end of the Spectrum. With that said, I do believe that all these issues can be covered by Economy and, hence, am more than willing to submit to the decisions of my Bishop and of the Patriarchal Throne of Consantinople.

Now, the average GOA Parishioner is not nearly as avid an advocate of the Oecumenical Throne as I am, but that is generally influenced by their American, democratic mindset; these people generally wish to view the Clergy-Laity Congress as the ultimate Church authority, even above the Eparchial Synod and Patriarchal Synod. My views on this matter are not far from most those who genuinely believe in the Right of the Episcopacy to rule the Church.
 

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...the Marriage of Priests, a Married Episcopacy, Inter-Religious Marriages, unrestricted Inter-Christian Marraiges, Marriages Beyond the Third, a complete overhaul of the Liturgy, Reception of Protestants by Chrismation, the eradication of the Kalimafi, the elimination of monasticism (only dissident monastic communities), requiring kneeling on Sundays, the establishment of Choirs and Organs in the Churches...
Are these practices commonly advocated by faculty and students at Holy Cross? The one that frightens me most isthe "complete overhail of the Liturgy." I pray that this will not be the course taken by the GOA in the next generation.
 

choirfiend

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I dont get the opposition to married priests. But who the heck is advocating (currently) married bishops?  What the heck is 'overhauling the Liturgy?" Who can require someone to kneel? Choral worship (ie not a single person) is definitely part of Orthodox Tradition. Organs need to get the boot.
 

Asteriktos

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But who the heck is advocating (currently) married bishops?
Met. Philip of the Antiochians for one. That one I just don't get. His Grace had a heart attack within a couple years of becoming Metropolitan, he has to know how hard the job is. How would adding a family improve things?
 

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greekischristian said:
Please, dont be, it's just an internet Message board, nothing is intended to be personal.
I know it's not intended to be personal and I don't take what you write as a personal attack on me.  However, your manner is offensive.  The way you 'speak' to people on this forum is offensive.  I've told you before that I sense an underlying disdain for people who disagree with you.  That is what I find offensive about your posts.  I think you also deliberately try to provocative. 

My objection is to Tradition, but so-called 'Traditionalism.' Those who take it upon themselves to elevate accidents of tradition to the level of Dogma, without the approval of, or even against the will of, an authoritive synod. As I've said before, I will say again, there is nothing wrong with the personal practice of these traditions, the problem is with those who try to dogmatize them. Furthermore, my statement about 'turning heads' when one wears a headscarf is not a posistion statement, it is an observation about some Orthodox Churches i've been to (and in which I have witnessed similar behaviour). Mind you, I've also witnessed parishoners publically scolding people for not Kneeling at the Consecration on Sundays, the fact that I have observed this does not mean I support it.
What I and others here sense is a 'dislike' for "Traditional" Orthodox.  Your statement about those who insist upon headcoverings being more comfortable in Islam was very insulting.  (To clarify, I didn't take it as a personal insult.  I knew you didn't direct your comment towards me.)

While I have not been everywhere in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, I believe I can safely say that I counted amongst the Conservatives at Holy Cross. I have drifted towards the Centre during my stay there, but have not Crossed over.
The accepted American spelling is center, which I'm sure you know. 

I still do not advocate the Marriage of Priests, a Married Episcopacy, Inter-Religious Marriages, unrestricted Inter-Christian Marraiges, Marriages Beyond the Third, a complete overhaul of the Liturgy, Reception of Protestants by Chrismation, the eradication of the Kalimafi, the elimination of monasticism (only dissident monastic communities), requiring kneeling on Sundays, the establishment of Choirs and Organs in the Churches, et cetera...all said and done, I'm still pretty far towards the Conservative end of the Spectrum. With that said, I do believe that all these issues can be covered by Economy and, hence, am more than willing to submit to the decisions of my Bishop and of the Patriarchal Throne of Consantinople.
So the GOA is in even more trouble than I thought. 

I suspect that you're very young and have little experience dealing with different kinds of people therefore your time in Greece will be very good for you. 

I hope that before you are ordained that you learn to respect those who disagree with you.  I also hope that you learn a more 'pastoral' way of expressing yourself. 

 

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Paradosis said:
Met. Philip of the Antiochians for one. That one I just don't get. His Grace had a heart attack within a couple years of becoming Metropolitan, he has to know how hard the job is. How would adding a family improve things?
Given that the Antiochians don't have any monasteries in the US, where do their bishops come from?  Maybe Met. PHILIP is concerned about who will take his place.  Although I can't see his convert priests accepting married bishops. 

 

chris

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Jennifer said:
I've had very little exposure to the GOA so I don't know what 'normal' GOA parishes are like. However, I read GisC's posts and I wonder if he is representative of the GOA as a whole.

Without getting into jurisdiction bashing (if that's possible), does GisC represent the 'mainstream' of the GOA?
As CF posted, 'No'.

GisC is a voice in the GOA, but is not the only voice. As an example, I am also in the GOA and am probably about as mainstream as you can get. Does my posting fill you with trepidation regarding the future of an Archdiocese of which you are not a member?


Jennifer said:
I don't want to get into jurisdiction bashing here but I can't but be concerned about the GOA knowing that GisC is a graduate of their seminary. ÂÂ
I would like to point out that at Holy Cross there are students from the Antiochian Archdiocese, Africa, South America, Europe, and the OCA. If somehow the qualities you describe were endemic to the GOA and potentially reinforced at the seminary, you would find others outside the GOA advocating similar views.

Jennifer said:
Every non-Greek Orthodox seems to have a story about the "chauvinism" of the Greeks. I personally feel that I would not be welcome in a Greek parish.
I am indeed sorry you feel you would not feel welcome in a GOA parish, and I am even sorrier that you have not yet been to one to test your suspicion first hand. As a convert, I know how intimidating it can be to enter a church without an escort to accompany you. If you would like to make the trip, I invite you to come to my home parish in Dayton, OH or at Holy Cross so you can find this out for yourself.

Also, one of the reasons I am in the GOA is actually because of the chauvinism of the non-GOA parishes I encountered when my family was in the process of converting. I have always been made to feel welcome in the GOA; perhaps different jurisdictions attract different people, and this is God's reason for these different jurisdictions. The Spirit leads us to the place we need to be!

greekischristian said:
While I have not been everywhere in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, I believe I can safely say that I counted amongst the Conservatives at Holy Cross. I have drifted towards the Centre during my stay there, but have not Crossed over.
Well, that's good to know that you haven't drifted over to the Dark Side entirely... :)
And, for the benefit of everyone else here, GisC is reasonably accurate with that statement. There are some disturbingly liberal people at HC, but usually they wind up identifying themselves as such and a sort of Darwinian process takes place to resolve the problem.

greekischristian said:
Now, the average GOA Parishioner is not nearly as avid an advocate of the Oecumenical Throne as I am, but that is generally influenced by their American, democratic mindset; these people generally wish to view the Clergy-Laity Congress as the ultimate Church authority, even above the Eparchial Synod and Patriarchal Synod. My views on this matter are not far from most those who genuinely believe in the Right of the Episcopacy to rule the Church.
Yes, we have some real nutcases in the GOA vis-a-vis episcopal authority; two cases that spring to my mind are one in New York City this spring  and another in Charlotte a few years ago---and that's just my poor memory; I am sure others exist.

The GOA is going through a big debate right now regarding what we are and where we are going. For at least the third year in a row non-Greeks outnumber Greeks at Holy Cross for newly admitted students. As an example, of the 'regular' HC posters here that I know of, 80% are converts. Maybe we are a bit later than the other jurisdictions to see this surge of converts in the 'leadership school', but what may assure you is that it is occurring. I do know that I was talking to a visitor to HC last fall who had visited there 5 years ago---she ended up her trip commenting on how things had changed. By her terms, there was much less 'Greekiness', which she considered to be good.

Within this context a voice like GisC's is important to have as a corrective to those who have no understanding of Apostolic Succession and the Episcopacy.

So, in this complex mix of opinions and factors we need your prayers. Then we can work these things out among ourselves, and resume working out our salvation as a stronger Church.
 

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Jennifer,
I can defintely sense your frustration and concern about the GOA. I 2 have had many of the same concerns about my archdiocese in Can as well as in the US.

If you look at the Greek church and other extremely ethnic churches like the Serbian and Coptic churches, one can see the exact same type of problems. (P.S to Ekhristos Anesti- I am not attacking the Coptic church here in any way just making an observation). However the Greek church here out of many ethnic churches is the largest archdiocese so their problems seem to be more rampant than any of the other dioceses but its really the same.

As for the monasticism issue...I adore Elder Ephraim and I ask for his prayers during my own prayers. However that does not mean I agree with everything he does or says. By only allowing Greek he is trying to maintain an "American Agion Oros"- "Mt. Athos." While I appreciate his endeavour for keeping the monastic and liturgical Byzantine tradition unchanged- but to refuse children the privildge and the right to celebrate the Holy Liturgy in their own language is simply absurd.

Does this barn refer to the barn on St. Nicholas Ranch? I went there last year and the monastery's services were beautiful but there was not a word of english. To me, I understand most of the Greek so its not a problem for me...but we'ere herei n North America and the services should be accessible to all generations and all people.

Something else I have failed to realize why it is, is that our Greek parishes insist on using the Greek language but have thrown out our amazing chanting for the choirs and organs. One good thign about the choirs is that they tend to be made up of bi-lingual greek americans who can sing both greek and english.

When our church first got our choir I was thrilled. But after a month of having the electric ogan keyboard and the choir I really wanted to hear the authentic byzantien chanting. I really commend GOA's initiative in providing the chanting lessons in greek and english on their website. Hopefully churches will utilize this tool and start to chant the liturgy in both languages.

time and prayer will eventually fix all,
                                                    Timos
 

greekischristian

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choirfiend said:
I dont get the opposition to married priests.
My opposition is to the Marriage of Priests, not Married Priests; there are some at Holy Cross who are advocating allowing Widowed Priests to Remarry, even After Ordination.

What the heck is 'overhauling the Liturgy?"
Vatican II Style Liturgical Reform

Who can require someone to kneel?
I've seen people try (priests and laity alike).

Choral worship (ie not a single person) is definitely part of Orthodox Tradition. Organs need to get the boot.
The Use of Choirs, as opposed to Cantors, while seen in the Russian Tradition, is Foreign to Greek Tradition. Now there may be many Cantors arround a Chanting Stand, but not what we would view as a 'western choir' which has unfortunately introduced itself into many Greek parishes.
 
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Hmm, why is it that some are just more holy than the others? Lord have mercy on us, for we blind and stupid have left love and replaced it by judging.
 

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greekischristian said:
My opposition is to the Marriage of Priests, not Married Priests; there are some at Holy Cross who are advocating allowing Widowed Priests to Remarry, even After Ordination.

Vatican II Style Liturgical Reform

I've seen people try (priests and laity alike).

The Use of Choirs, as opposed to Cantors, while seen in the Russian Tradition, is Foreign to Greek Tradition. Now there may be many Cantors arround a Chanting Stand, but not what we would view as a 'western choir' which has unfortunately introduced itself into many Greek parishes.
Marriage: gotcha, that's nutso.

reform: also nutso

kneeling: I'd like to see them to even get me to sit down during the Epistle!! Mwahahahahah! (evil laugh)

choirs: basically, it's Orthodox Tradition; who freakin' cares what country it came from? Chant usually requires an ison, so the music is in at least 2 parts, making it choral....Why don't people see that? I really dont suppose I care if there's just cantors or a choir, as long as the congregation is involved in an appropriate way in the worship, which usually includes responding to the priest as the People.
 

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My priest, who is a very studious (music) scholar said that there is actually NO historical proof (as in writing) of an ison ever existing (as in hundreds of years ago).  So GiC, if it is "traditionally Greek", produce some ancient manuscripts that talk about an ison.
 

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I'm only going to add a very small statement here. Jennifer, I am also a recent graduate of HCHC. You may not be correct in ascribing the anti-monasticism, papism and anti-traditionalist view to the school, but you are right on the money with the ethnocentrism. But then, I was probably one of those "disturbingly liberal people" who was weeded out but the Darwinian process at the school.

What an evil thing that process is too, by the way, Chris. I can't believe you would even support it. People disagree with you so you isolate, exclude and ostracize them until they go crazy. This is your Darwinian process. You destroy those whose views differ from yours. And you wonder why I hated everyone at the school? What a great witness for Christ that place is. It takes people who are zealous for the Church, on fire with love for Christ, and absolutely destroys them. All thorugh this wonderfu Darwinian process.

I'm not trying to be belligerent, Chris. You (and GiC) were actually one of the few people I actually did like at the school, but this Darwinian process is the greatest evil that exists at the school. It is the fullest manifestation of a lack of any genuine Christian love I have ever seen or experienced. I cannot imagine that any Christian, Orthodox or otherwise, would support and justify such a destructive method of dealing with people. How many people have been destroyed at the school? I know of 4 personally, not including myself. And I was only there for 2 years.

The GOA is sick and in trouble. Jennifer is right to be concerned.
 

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And I forgot to respond to one thing.

Chris, many of these people from other countries, whom you mentioned being at the school, have the same view as Jennifer regarding the ethnocentricism at the school. They won't talk about it openly precisely because they too have seen this Darwinian process at work. They spoke about it to me, because I was too stupid to keep my mouth shut. Everyone knew how I felt, so they could "trust me", so to speak. It is at the very least not an uncommon view of the school, even from those who attend the school. It is, obviously, more common among those not Greek, but there are one or two Greeks as well.
 

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Some interesting points about the GOA have been brought up in this thread... I have been involved with the GOA for about three years now, and now a "member" of the GOA at a fairly normal parish, not overly liberal but definetly not conservative - so I have first hand experience with many of these issues. Not to be cliche but I could describe these last three years as the best of times and the worst of times...

GiC's stance regarding the authority of the patriarchate is not really normnative, and is perhaps better than the rest the GOA. At least GiC believes in episcopal authority - I have run across many in the GOA that I would describe as Greek rite protestants. It is a troubling issue though in the GOA that many do think the Church ought to function like a democracy - with the reality of many parishes being the parish council is the supreme authority, not the priest. Alas many of the metropolitans don't back the priests if wealthy parishoners oppose him (and I have seen cases across the board with this). So there is a growing problem of many anti- clerical authority types and then those that respect clerical authority but in a papal way.

Part of the growing problem is most in the GOA aren't really sure why the GOA even exists. To many it is the center of the Greek-American cultural identity (which is something VASTLY different than Greek culture as anyone who is familar with Greece can tell you). I've found that to most religously oriented members (and the more or less official stance) is that the GOA is here to minister to Greek-Americans and if anyone is crazy enough to convert to the GOA then can come along for the ride. But I've been told explicitly but people in high positions in the GOA - the GOA is not interested in doing missionary work.    ÂÂ

This identity crisis leads to the next problem - liturgical language. Many want to see Greek used as a sort of forced way to keep Greek-American culture alive (a culture that is rapidly disapeering outside of "Greek town" ethnic enclaves). But the reality is that each generation in America speaks less and less Greek - the ironic part being that since I learned my Greek in Greece I can hardly understand people with an American accent (and I have no Greek heritage). This is leading to far greater problems as people are moving further and further away from the liturgy. This divorce leads to the inovations that are so common in the GOA and a general lack of piety. It is a delicate issue and English can't be implemented overnight. What I do find interesting though is that many I spoke with in Greece were almost sort of surprised at how much Greek is used in America. My obedience while I was on the Holy Mountain was working in the monasteries bakery (among other things!) with an Hieromonk that spoke ZERO English. One of the things we did to pass time was I would chant something in English (in the byzantine melody) and he would guess what it was from the melody, he genuinely thought it was wonderful that there were English church services (and I'd say most people I spoke with on the Holy Mountain thought like this). It was very touching to me when on Pascha he greeted me "Christ eez reezen." Or when on the night before I was going back to the world he wanted to serve paraklisis for me, but insisted I chant it in English. IME, Greeks are very interested and sympathetic towards missionary work in America - but the GOA is the odd duck here.

Regarding Elder Ephraim - I do agree that there are some problems with the situation. But, most of these are caused by over zealous disciples doing things the Elder doesn't know about nor condone. All of my friends that are his (or one of "his" hieromonks') spiritual children are clean cut, wear normal clothes, hold normal jobs and in general are simply normal Christians trying to work out their salvation. But there are a few people (and they seem to find ways are drawing A LOT of attention to themselves) that are over the top that do represent some problems. Regarding the situation that GiC mentioned - I don't doutb its truth. It is very sad indeed though. But it must be remembered that the convent in question isn't directly under Elder Ephraim and he probably had no knowledge of the event. My understanding of the choice to use all Greek is that it was the only really pragmatic option. The Elder understands English - but not well enough to make sure things are running correctly. Also many of the Abbesses are in a similar situation with limited English. But my understanding is that this is temporary - the goal is get established first and into the routine of monasticism. As more of the new monastics are not even Greek the transition to English will eventually happen. Also it should be noted that the abbotts of the two largest monasteries in the whole "system" are native English speakers.

Regarding the uncanonical American situation of overlapping jurisdictions - neither the EP nor the OCA are the solution to this problem (at least not yet). For example the two different OCA churches in my area are under different bishops (one is Romanian episcopate, the other is the Western). And the even though the EP wants to claim everything as his God-given territory there are several groups here under the EP but overlapping jurisdictions. For example you could have a Carpatho-russian church, Ukrainian church and GOA chuch all under the EP but with different bishops in between in the same town.ÂÂ

In general I would say the GOA varies some place to place.ÂÂ Some parishes are very warm and friendly.ÂÂ I have a friend that was almost completely driven from Orthodoxy by racism within the GOA (he is now happily in an English language mission of the ROCOR).ÂÂ I am accepted by my parish - but only after learning Greek and much intial skepticism.ÂÂ Even some of Elder Ephraims monasteries can be hotbeds of ethnocentrism and unhealthy legalism.ÂÂ But there are some very wonderful and holy people in the GOA - amazing priests, a few good bishops even! And of course there areÂÂ some wonderful monasteries that truly capture the essence of ancient Orthodox monasticism.ÂÂ But the GOA is at a crossroads and if things don't start to change there are grave problems ahead. 
 

ozgeorge

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Jennifer said:
1) Ethnocentricism (a better term would be that phrase that starts with a "p" that I can't remember how to spell)
Jennifer,
I'm not sure you can apply this to GiC. He may be a member of the GOA, but why do you assume he is Greek?
 

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The strange thing though about Orthodoxy is that some of the most ethnocentric people are not of the ethnicity they claim is central.  I've come across some strange ROCOR converts that are OBSESSED with Russia beyond what I have ever seen in someone who is actually Russian.  Once in a blue moon such can also be found with the Greeks. 
 
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