Thursday, January 16, 2014

ROCOR: a no to the Chambésy process

This is big news, people. If we had the idea that the Chambésy process of normalizing the "diaspora" into one-city-one-bishop canonical Orthodoxy was on the horizon, read the below...


(Pravmir) - From the Editors: On Tuesday, December 9, 2013, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, during a regular meeting, deliberated on the results of the previous September’s Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. During the discussion regarding the proposal to reorganize the Orthodox dioceses in North and Central America, the President of the Synod of Bishops stressed that the Russian Church Abroad is under the canonical authority of its dear and great Mother, the Russian Orthodox Church, and is obligated to minister to its multitude of devoted flock finding itself abroad and wishing to remain in her bosom. The members of the Synod of Bishops, agreeing with the opinion of their President, noted that Orthodoxy in America is not prepared for reorganization of Orthodox dioceses in America. In connection with this, the Synod of Bishops instructed its Secretary, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, to send the following letter to the President of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America explaining the position held by the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in this matter.

To: The Most Reverend Archbishop Demetrios
Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North and Central America

Your Eminence!

During our recent Fourth Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, a “Proposal for Canonical Restructuring of the Orthodox Church in the USA” was presented by the Committee for Regional Canonical Planning, chaired by Your Eminence, in which four possible approaches to future restructuring were offered, the fourth being the main recommendation of the Committee. We were grateful to God that the fraternal bonds between us as hierarchs of North and Central America have grown to such a level, over these past years of increased cooperation and dialogue, that we were able to share openly, directly and in mutual humility the thoughts and concerns of all the churches’ archpastors in relation to these concepts; and we desired to follow up the plenary and small-group discussions of the Fourth Assembly with a letter clarifying the position of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on these matters, which we recognize the committee will continue to consider over the coming year.

Our primary concern and consideration, as unworthy inheritors of the Lord’s Apostolic charge, is for the salvation of our flock, considered not in terms of potentiality but actuality. Those whom the Lord in His mercy has delivered unto us are diverse in age, background, race and heritage — and, indeed, ethnicity — and for each soul we rejoice as a shepherd who finds the one sheep that has gone astray (Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 18:12-13). Yet we can never deny, and indeed we heartily rejoice, in the fact that God has delivered unto this Synod a sacred charge to look after and care for, with special intensity, those of Russian heritage and descent, who find themselves “scattered abroad” to all the ends of the earth. The godless revolution through which the thief of souls tried in vain to rob a long-believing people of their true foundation, created a situation that persists even in our present day, though by God’s mercy the tyranny of militant Communist atheism has been broken and cast off the shoulders of the Russian homeland. Yet all throughout the world, including here in the North and Central American lands of our Assembly’s responsibility, Russians and their kin were led by the Lord, as by an invisible hand, to places where the machinations of men could not rob them of the free exercise of their piety and deeply rooted love of God. And perhaps nowhere have their numbers been greater than in North America, where enormous populations arrived on both coasts and made their way into the heartland of a new nation, finding here the freedom and stability to preserve abroad that which had been made impossible at home. Thus, as men for whom “every foreign land is a fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign” (Epistle to Diogentus, 5:5), they established roots in this place, preserving their heritage and culture even as they adapted and made new lands and cultures their own.

Our Russian Church has known her share of the pains of division and separation, which ultimately are always the signs of our own sinfulness and weak piety. However, by the mercy of God, we have also seen how, through repentance and mutual humility, the Holy Spirit works reconciliation and unity in the midst of the earth, taking what human sin had fractured into division and transforming it into a sacred unity that persists in diversity. Our hearts rejoiced “with an exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:10 ) on the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ in May, 2007, when after long years of division, the fracture within our Russian Orthodox Church was healed. Through the divinely guided wisdom of our archpastors, in particular His Holiness Patriarch Alexy and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, both of blessed memory, our long-desired unity was restored — not through the conglomeration of administrative entities or the restructuring of canonical territories, but by an act of reconciliation which allows the Church abroad and the Church in the motherland to exist side by side, in mutual love and work, each free and operating within that freedom, yet bonded inseparably like a mother to her daughter. And within our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, this renewed bond with our Mother Church came to us as a longed-for prize, a pearl of great price, and a bond of spiritual strength that shall not be broken.

Our mission to our flock in North and Central America is a source of profound joy, as it has been for the Russian Orthodox Church since the days that the first Orthodox missionaries departed the soil of Holy Russia and set foot on this new land, bringing with them the Apostolic Faith. Since that time, the Russian Orthodox Church has ministered to the faithful in North America as mother to daughter, taking special care of her children, whatever their background. Yet the history of Orthodoxy in North America has been unique, at once plagued by the many troubles of the twentieth century in particular, and at the same time blessed with the unique diversity of peoples this land represents. In this land we find Russians and Greeks, Arabs and Romanians, Bulgarians, French and Germans, Italians and English as well as native peoples; and we find, also, many differing degrees of ethnic life. For many, particularly of later generations of emigration, those past origins may have subsumed into a singularly American identity, whereas for others, there remains a strong, abiding sense of connection to their national or ethnic origins, united to their new cultural life in these lands. For all these things we rejoice, for this is in some sense the true uniqueness of the American lands: that from many, there is one (‘e pluribus, unum’), not by a collapse of those differing identities, but by their peaceful co-existence and united life. This unity-in-diversity is made more perfect in the Church where, as the Holy Apostle says, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 ). We remain richly diverse, the manifold creation of God who orders all things; yet we are one in faith, in mission, in communion, in calling and in sacred hope.

This, we firmly believe, is also the means of forging a stronger unity amongst the Orthodox churches of North and Central America — not by the collapsing of the identities and structures of the nine jurisdictions currently represented in this territory, however well-intentioned a “restructuring” may be, or however attentive intentions may be towards questions of ethnicity — but through an increased bond of mutual love that permits us to live together in our diversity, yet in the more perfect unity of the Spirit.

We find ourselves in strong agreement with a multitude of the sentiments expressed by His Grace, Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Diocese in the USA and Canada, in his letter presented to Your Eminence’s Committee and distributed at the recent Assembly. In particular, we affirm His Grace’s statements on the paradigms that exist within the Sacred Canons of the Church (which are our blessed guiding hand in determining every course of ecclesial action) for acceptable means of organizing Church unity in a region which for various reasons cannot follow the otherwise standard paradigm of a purely local structure. These include, for example, the 39th Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which allowed for an independent ecclesiastical province of the Church of Cyprus in the region of another local Church’s territory (demonstrating that the canons permit, in cases of pastoral need, a departure from the normal localization of episcopal oversight even within the territory of the established Churches); as well as the 2nd Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, which states “the churches of God that are situated in territories belonging to barbarian nations (i.e. where there is no established local Orthodox Church) must be administered in accordance with the customary practice of the Fathers,” which, according to the ancient explanations of the canons, means the sending forth of bishops from established eparchies to care for them (thus demonstrating that the situation of Sister Churches mutually caring for their flocks in the diaspora and thereby “supplying what is missing for a local synod” is what the canons themselves consider, not an aberration, but the ancient practice of the Fathers). We affirm, as well, other existing practices within the local Churches of our own day, such as the foundation of stavropegial monasteries or communities, which likewise demonstrate acceptable means by which the historically normative principle of local organization with a singular ruling bishop in a singular physical territory have been accommodated by the Holy Fathers, Councils and hierarchs of the past in ways that befit the pastoral needs of a region. To be clear, we cannot and do not consider that these contexts of the past are “un-canonical,” and neither do we consider that the present situation of multiple Sister Churches tending to the diverse needs of the flock in the unique cultural situation of North America is, of itself, a violation of canonical order.

We consider the charge of those gathered at Chambesy to be important, and that we must strive towards better canonical order within our ministries in these lands. While we cannot accept that the Orthodox community in North and Central America requires or is under canonical mandate to restructure its organization in a manner that severs active ties with its various Mother Churches (and indeed we would consider any such restructuring to be a matter of gravest spiritual peril to the souls of all our flocks in these lands, whether ethnically of Russian heritage or not — for we consider these bonds to be of essential spiritual value in providing a sure spiritual foundation for the lives of all Orthodox in North America), never the less we affirm the need to strive towards increased cooperation between all our jurisdictions, so that the bond of love may grow between us and our diversity increasingly show itself in the true unity of the Holy Spirit. In this light, we recognize that there are situations of genuine canonical anomaly which a body such as our Assembly ought properly to consider, approaching contexts where variation is not the result of necessity but of human multiplicity or a laxity towards the Holy Canons. Such are the anomalies that are displeasing to the Holy Spirit, and which ought to be corrected (such as important questions regarding divergent practices on the conducting of inter-faith marriages; the practices of reception into the Church; divergent approaches to fasting; issues of confession and preparation for Holy Communion; the release and reception of clergy; etc.). Here there is the need for increased cooperation and dialogue amongst all the hierarchs of North America, in humble obedience to the tradition of the Church, so that the faithful might come readily to see that truest unity, which exists in diversity, and which overcomes deficiency through obedience and love. We reaffirm our commitment to the work of the Assembly of Bishops for such tasks, and for the increase of common work that may come about through its labors, in which we shall take active part so long as the Lord gives us strength.

In light of all that has been said, both here and in the discussions of our recent Fourth Assembly, we conclude with a quotation of Bishop Daniil’s words. His Grace wrote:

“We strongly believe that a plan, which is entirely in the spirit of the Orthodox ecclesiology and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church, and which preserves the rights of the Sister Churches to administer their flocks in the Diaspora, is feasible and applicable, and this in fact is our understanding of the Decision of the Sister Churches at the 4th Pre – Conciliar Pan – Orthodox Conference in Chambesy.”

This, too, represents our view as the assembled hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and we call upon the One Lord, worshipped in Trinity, to bestow upon our common Assembly the grace to strengthen the unity of our witness in these lands upon this model.
With fraternal love and respect in Christ,

+Kyrill,
Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America,
Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
January 3, 2014

36 comments:

  1. The content of Archbishop Kyrill's letter has brought much thanksgiving to God in the heart of this sinful and unworthy priest. His Eminence has clearly stated that our current efforts should be in the following areas, which need immediate (in my opinion) attention, if we are to become a truly unified body of diverse Orthodox jurisdictions:

    "[W]e recognize that there are situations of genuine canonical anomaly which a body such as our Assembly ought properly to consider, approaching contexts where variation is not the result of necessity but of human multiplicity or a laxity towards the Holy Canons. Such are the anomalies that are displeasing to the Holy Spirit, and which ought to be corrected (such as important questions regarding divergent practices on the conducting of inter-faith marriages; the practices of reception into the Church; divergent approaches to fasting; issues of confession and preparation for Holy Communion; the release and reception of clergy; etc.). Here there is the need for increased cooperation and dialogue amongst all the hierarchs of North America, in humble obedience to the tradition of the Church, so that the faithful might come readily to see that truest unity, which exists in diversity, and which overcomes deficiency through obedience and love."

    How wonderful it would be if all the jurisdictions worked fervently together to become one mind in the Spirit on all of those critical issues in the daily life of our Faith in the Americas.

    Yours in Christ,

    Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas
    Chaplain, Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Monastery

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  2. Except that all of what is being referenced in the section of the Archbishop's letter by the Archimandrite has been on the agenda of the Assembly since its inception and is the subject of committees and much discussion and is recognized as being part of the solution. It may be that a desire to establish a form of rigor which ROCOR might prefer to be the norm is not shared by the majority of our hierarchs. Frankly, all that the ROCOR is doing here is retreating into to the cocoon from which His Eminence, the late Metropolitan Laurus of thrice blessed memory, sought to bring them out of back at the beginning of this century. Trying to organize Orthodoxy is like trying to herd cats. We have to figure out how to deal with this since the diaspora is here to stay and the myriad of national churches have crept out of their ethnic and geopolitical nurseries onto a global, multi cultural stage. I don't have any answers, but the old paradigm seems stretched to the breaking point. Qatar is an example.

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  3. I think this is more of a caution to the wind statement to more ambitious American bishops who wanted to hastily push towards jurisdictional unity.

    Some orthodox in the USA would have expected the Russian Church abroad to all but withdraw from the assembly of bishops, but that clearly isn't the case. The Church Abroad's synod is clearly defending the interests of their spiritual flock, the Russian Orthodox in diaspora, which is what I am. I am a loyal American AND a loyal 3rd generation Russian Orthodox Christian. Sadly some orthodox in this country can't comprehend this. I think however the Greeks understand this more than they lead on.

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    1. The Great Commission: "Keep to your own."

      There is an easy solution to "the Russian Orthodox in diaspora": pack your bags.

      Flights leave daily.

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    3. Isa, that is ridiculous and uncharitable, and completely misses the point.

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  4. The ROCOR fears union with the other Orthodox jurisdictions because for them, it's always been ROCOR way or the highway. In a synod made up of a variety of Orthodox ethnicities, the hated "non-Russian practices" would be made available to ROCOR priests and parishioners.

    But what are they afraid of? Can someone give an example of how this would cramp the Russian style at all? Ex-ROCOR parishes (newly-christened "American Orthodox" parishes) would still be free to practice Orthodoxy in accordance with the Russian tradition, if the priests and parishioners desire it. They can still use Russian language to a certain extent, have Russian icons, and use all the Russian liturgical quirks.

    Abp. Kyrill fears that it is too soon to unify Orthodoxy in North America. He fears that there are too many Orthodox who still feel a strong unity with their homeland. Yet I fear that until Orthodoxy becomes American, the Americans will not become Orthodox! How many Americans want to become "pseudo-Russians" or Serbians or Greeks? Maybe some do. But it is an evangelical mandate that Orthodoxy be united in order to approach the American people "in their own language" (both figuratively and literally) and in accordance with American culture. How else can Orthodoxy fight in the American culture war?

    This is the TRUE ancient practice of the Fathers...they would enter a country and engage the people on their own level. Look at the Apostle Philip, St. Patrick, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Stephen of Perm.

    Face it, ROCOR. This is happening.

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    1. "until Orthodoxy becomes American, the Americans will not become Orthodox!"

      Amen.

      But here is the problem: Not even Americans know what 'American' is.

      I think this may have been evident to the first Russian and Greek immigrants, which is why they started diaspora parishes, not missionary parishes.

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    2. You realize that this has nothing to do with being Russian or American, right? It has everything to do with right practice, and the modernization and liberalization being undertaken by larger, better funded, and better organized jurisdictions. ROCOR isn't interested, because what's being peddled is barely Orthodox; it doesn't matter if it's in English, Slavonic, or Swahili - practices like open communion and female readers (among many) will never be acceptable.

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    3. Here is my reply: http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2014/01/rocor-and-assembly-of-bishops.html

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  5. This was pretty discouraging to read. His appeals to the canons for support for the aberration of jurisdictions on this continent strikes me as hollow, and rather hypocritical given how 'by the rules' the ROCOR has portrayed itself in the past.

    All of this will likely take a great deal of time, as we all should have known...

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  6. As a convert to ROCOR, I'm still trying to understand all the bickering that takes place amongst the Orthodox and why. (I thought I'd see something different when I left the Catholic Church). Im sure there are subtle things I'm missing here, but the one thing that I will say is that I'm disturbed by Orthodox Americans who belong to "Americanized" Orthodox churches. In those Americanized churches its very apparent that the secular culture has seeped into the parishes. All of the horrible values that I saw in the lukewarm american Catholic Churches are extremely prevalent in American Orthodox Churches that stray for strong ethnic ties, like Russian or Greek ties. I for one am happy that I stumbled into a ROCOR Church, because they are shunning the popular secular culture of America and demanding that you live the Gospel and not adjust the Gospel to fit our American ways. Perhaps its not that way in every ethnic Church, but for now I can live in my delusion at the ROCOR Church that I attend.

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    1. "they are shunning the popular secular culture of America and demanding that you live the Gospel and not adjust the Gospel to fit our American ways"
      yes, adjust it to their Russian ways. Lenin showed that that can be dangerous.

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    2. Oh my goodness, I cant believe Isa just used a Lenin reference. That seems very inappropriate. Anyway....

      An example would be confession - I attended an OCA parish for a little while and was completely amazed that virtually no one showed up for confession, but almost everyone took the Eucharist. After about a month of this I was either sure I was the most sinning person on earth or that no one believed that it was important to go to confession anymore. At my ROCOR parish you WILL come to confession on Saturday or you should not expect the Eucharist on Sunday. I've seen that consistently through ROCOR parishes. Of course I only have a small sample size of parishes, but when you visit the ROCOR websites that seems to be the consistent theme.

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  7. Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor…

    It never cease to amaze me how bishops & even entire synods are willing to wrench canons out of their historical contexts so they can ascribe novel & idiosyncratic interpretations designed to suit their agendas.

    Canon 39 of the 6th Ecumenical Council did not "allow for an independent ecclesiastical province of the Church of Cyprus in the region of another local Church’s territory (demonstrating that the canons permit, in cases of pastoral need, a departure from the normal localization of episcopal oversight even within the territory of the established Churches)."

    On the contrary, as the full text of the canon reads and the commentary in the Rudder explains, as well as the understanding that Fr. John Meyendorff put forward in his book "Catholicity and the Church" the canon did precisely the opposite. Rather than permitting the creation of a parallel Cypriot jurisdiction in the existing province of Hellespont it actually preserved the basic territorial principle of unity.

    This is evidenced by the fact that when Emperor Justinian II transferred a large number of the Cypriot faithful along with their metropolitan archbishop, John (who was primate of the autocephalous province of Cyprus), from Cyprus to Artake (modern day Erdek) which was a town in the province of Hellespont near the metropolis of Cyzicus (who's metropolitan had been for some time primate of the autonomous provincial synod of Hellespont, under Constantinople), and Artake was renamed New Justinianopolis in honor of the emperor, the Council actually transferred the provincial primacy from Cyzicus to John in his new local Church of New Justinianopolis. In addition, Hellespont was no longer subject to Constantinople as an autonomous province, but, in deed, became autocephalous again in order to continue the prerogatives of the autocephalous primate of Cyprus, and all the bishops of Hellespont were placed under his jurisdiction (the bishops of Cyprus remaining under his jurisdiction as well). All that for a situation, which in the end, turned out to be quite temporary, I might add.

    Thus, everything was overhauled in order to preserve the basic canonical order and unity of the Church.

    ROCOR isn't alone on this "chose your own adventure" canonical insanity. A couple of years ago the Patriarchate of Antioch (mainly here in the US) decided to keep all their dioceses (i.e., local Churches) in place with all the basic structures of local Churches, including bishops, but stripped those bishops of all canonical episcopal authority by making them "auxiliary" bishops so that in the vast regions of the US & Canada they have a single ruling bishop, Metropolitan Philip, who has control of it all…nice, eh? How is this any different than the "universal ecclesiology" of the Catholics? The EP promotes an interpretation of Chalcedon's canon 28 "barbarian" clause that is patently absurd & completely untenable based upon history. Etc., etc., etc., ...

    I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but when I read this stuff I'm tempted to ask: "How was the traffic in from space today?"

    We can't even agree amongst ourselves on basic ecclesiology & we're talking with the Catholics about primacy. Its discouraging to say the least.

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    1. Indeed. Mend our own tattered tents, and then we can begin to think about beginning to talk with Rome. But then, we'll have the same pickle with Rome. Will ecumenicism mean Rome gets the Western Hemisphere? Or just the Americas? Or just Europe? Who gets Africa?

      All of this stems from an ecclesiology that wedded itself to the Roman Empire early on. Now the Roman Empire is long gone and not coming back, but the Imperial ecclesiology still exists. The hierarchs really haven't known what to make of it all since Constantinople fell.

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    2. I don't think Vladyka Kyrill is saying that today's situation is like that with Canon 39, only that Canon 39 set up a situation which was no less anomalous than today's situation -- an autocephalous church with an enclave inside of another autocephalous church.

      ROCOR has also been careful, of late, to avoid putting bishops into cities that already have bishops from other jurisdictions, even when doing so is inconvenient. I don't think ROCOR is intending to hang on to our American parishes forever, but is requiring that key functional matters -- "practices on the conducting of inter-faith marriages; the practices of reception into the Church; divergent approaches to fasting; issues of confession and preparation for Holy Communion; the release and reception of clergy; etc." -- be made at least compatible first.

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    3. "martiancyclist", I think you missed my point.

      Historically the canon 39 of the 6th Council matter did not put "an autocephalous church with with an enclave inside of another autocephalous church."

      It actually moved the provincial primacy from the traditional metropolis to another newly created see, and cut the whole autonomous province loose from Constantinople in order to make it autocephalous - all so that they would not have parallel jurisdictions in the same territory.

      As such, appealing to this canon in an effort to justify the current situation in the US & other places in the "diaspora" is simply irrelevant. There is no comparison. Its actually worse than saying something like, "My daughter's favorite color is purple. Ergo, our multiple overlapping jurisdictions are not contrary to the canons." because this c. 39 issues reinforced the fundamental Orthodox ecclesiology principle that there should only be one Church/bishop in any given geographic local.

      This line of reasoning is clearly a desperate attempt to justify an agenda. For all I know the agenda may be perfectly appropriate, but the logic & scholarship (if you can even use that word in this case) is fatally flawed.

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    4. Also, "martiancyclist", you wrote, "I don't think ROCOR is intending to hang on to our American parishes forever, but is requiring that key functional matters...be made at least compatible first."

      I doesn't matter a lick what you or I think the ROCOR synod intends to do. The only thing that matters is what they said, and they unequivocally stated that they believe the status quo of multiple overlapping jurisdictions is not contrary to the canons & as such there is no reason the change the jurisdictional structures.

      If they wanted to say that they would not be willing to participate in a merger of all the jurisdictions until "key functional matter…be made at least compatible first" they could have easily said that. However, they didn't.

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  8. The problem with ROCOR's dependence on the example of c. 39 of the VI Council comes with how it ended: once the danger was lifted, the Church on the Hellespont picked up and went back to Cyprus.
    Communism has fallen. ROCOR can pick up and go back.

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    1. At this point it's just shameless phyletism that is pathetically justified. It's sad really.

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    2. I'm in ROCOR -- where is this "back" you want me to go, Oklahoma?

      I'm not Russian, and neither is about 1/3 of ROCOR in America, at least, and only a minority was actually born in Russia.

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    3. You should point this out to your hierarchs, though they've made it about as clear as they can where they place you in the pecking order.

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    4. Thank you MartianCyclist! Exactly! Where do I go? I'm from Michigan and over half my parish are originally from American.

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    5. Timmy and Isa are a couple of idiots! Nuff said. You people don't realize what's really going on---there has been, behind the scenes, a HUGE argument in all the episcopal assemblies, including America. The Ecumenical Patriarch is attempting a major land grab in all the "barbarian lands". What the committee came up with and showed to the bishops shocked Bulgaria, ROCOR, OCA and Antioch. Basically, the EP is demanding subjugation to them. Now, if they were traditional, then fine, but they are new-calendarists and ecumenists. Which is unacceptable to me personally. There will be a schism between Moscow and Istanbul. Beware Black Bart!!

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    6. Dear PJ, there's no need to turn the comments section of Flavius' blog into a place for childish name calling.

      Most of us have suspected exactly what you stated above, and I would love to read more on the "behind the scenes" argument in the assembly of bishops that you referenced.

      Nobody opposes the the EP's interpretation of the "barbarian" clause in c. 28 of Chalcedon more than me, nor is anyone more repulsed by the neo-papal proclivities of Constantinople than I am.

      However, that doesn't mean that its appropriate for all the other Churches to start acting like a bunch of desperate anti-intellectuals engaging in revisionist history.

      On the contrary, the bull needs to be taken by the horns!

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    7. JP, if you could post a link to the "behind the scenes" arguments that you mentioned I would appreciate it.

      With respect to a schism between Moscow & Constantinople it would be heartbreaking, but it wouldn't be the end for the world or the end of Orthodoxy. As St. Paul wrote: "First of all, when you come together as a Church, I hear that there are schisms among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be heresies among you, so that those who are approved may have become evident among you." (I Cor. 11:18-19)

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    8. "You people don't realize what's really going on---there has been, behind the scenes, a HUGE argument in all the episcopal assemblies, including America. The Ecumenical Patriarch is attempting a major land grab in all the "barbarian lands"."
      I so said LOOONG ago. The Phanariots weren't fooling me.
      The anecdote to Phanariotism isn't more Phyletism.

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  10. My dear ROCOR brothers and sisters, please focus on the tender, loving, caring nature of our Lord. While you obsess over cerebral and procedural aspects of Orthodox unity in America, the core of our holy faith and mission may be obscured. Let the "jots and tittles" go, so that you may avoid becoming as the Pharisees. Please emphasize connecting, loving, building and gathering. If Christ is with us, what have we to fear? Don't be so frightened and cowering ... looking to find fault so quickly. "Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave". Gather, don't separate. Embrace all our jurisdictions and realize that the Holy Spirit is active. Always. All glory and honor onto our Lord, now and forever.

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    1. If you look at who spoke of jots and tittles, it was Christ (Matthew 5:18), not the Pharisees... and he said that "it is easier for heaven to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail" (Luke 16:17). And whether or not we affirm homosexual sex to be inherently sinful is not a small matter of the Faith. It is also not a small matter of the faith when the EP claims to itself neo-papist authority. If we didn't worry about those kind of things, we would be paleo-papists.

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  11. I can tell if this is merely phyletism rearing its ugly head or a milder form of the sickness that pervades the so-called “Independent Catholic” movement. Either way, as C. S. Lewis put it in “The Last Battle,“ “The dwarves are for the dwarves.”

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  12. This is quite a sad display... this thread. In the "American" context, this becomes nothing more than wishful thinking and posturing on the deck of the Titanic. What "America" are you talking about?? Nationalism at its worst! Orthodoxy at its weakest! So very sad...

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