Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First Things on Orthodox unity

The below is an excerpt from an article in First Things entitled Eastern Orthodox Unity.

(First Things) - October was not a month of especial cooperation in the global Eastern Orthodox communion. Protesting the appointment in March of an archbishop for Qatar by the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Antioch withdrew its participation from “all the Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops abroad.” The Antiochian Patriarchate claims sole authority over the small Gulf state though at present it has no parishes of its own there. The assemblies affected by this decision include the canonical episcopal council in North America, which counts several Antiochian bishops among its officers.

Meanwhile, following a visit to Indonesia by Serbia’s Patriarch Irinej, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore expressed dismay that “the Church of Serbia never informed the local canonical Orthodox Metropolitan.” This comes after a series of incidents over the summer in which its sister see in Hong Kong unilaterally excommunicated clergy of another legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction serving in the Philippines.

A 2009 meeting in Chamb├ęsy, Switzerland appointed Orthodox regional assemblies to resolve issues like these. Its goal was to reach a modus vivendi in canonically fresh territory through gradual cooperation, seeking to carry out Christ’s commandments and minister to the whole world. Why, despite such good will, have occasional clashes persisted?

Orthodox Christians in the United States (along with Western Europe) enjoy a relatively well-established church infrastructure, and even before Chamb├ęsy our hierarchs have collaborated on everything from college ministry to pastoral discipline to social witness. We are learning to overcome the legacy of generations of canonical setbacks, including decades in which sister congregations had broken communion with one another. Many of these outward wounds have been healed, most notably the 2007 restoration of communion between the Russian Church Abroad and those churches which recognized the Church of Russia during the Soviet era...
Complete article here.

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