Saturday, January 18, 2014

Where are we with the Assembly of Bishops

I've receive a lot of emails on what all the recent news stories about the Assembly of Bishops means. Here's a quick break-down. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Antiochian Archdiocese: The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is trying to move into Qatar. The Patriarchate of Antioch has demanded they cease this activity. As a result, before Antioch cuts off communion with them they have "... decided to suspend the Church of Antioch’s participation in all the Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops abroad (in the Diaspora) until the removal of the violation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. (see here)" What does that mean in reality? From the representatives I have spoken to this means that all Assembly of Bishops activities have been removed from their schedules.

Bulgarian Diocese: Bishop Daniil provided the first sign that the way forward might not be a direct one when he delivered a lengthy "No." to the Assembly during their last meeting.

Greek Archdiocese: Still very much on-board. They have a clear idea of the future and want to move forward. The other jurisdictions under the Ecumenical Patriarchate would seem to be of a similar mind.

Orthodox Church in America: Many laity and some bishops have had less than warm and fuzzy feelings about what the Chamb├ęsy process means for their autocephaly. This feeling of future marginalization is not aided by the perceived current marginalization of placing the OCA at the "back of the room" when the Assembly is seated.

ROCOR: This is the line that matters from their recent statement to the assembly: "... 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." If they believe that the current system is not uncanonical, if they believe in the importance of ethnic identities so that Chamb├ęsy would be an unacceptable "... collapse of those differing identities," then lines like "through an increased bond of mutual love that permits us to live together in our diversity" would seem to signal keeping some form of assembly for cooperation, but not for a cooperation that subsumes ROCOR as a body.

14 comments:

  1. As for us here, the spark that has just been ignited in Prague might be the Prinipov Bridge Incident of Sarajevo moment for us. Soon, there may be no status quo to maintain.

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  2. I haven't been following that matter. Could you elaborate?

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    1. They have elected their new primate, Met. Ratislav. The bishop of Prague, Simeon, however, has protested and appealed to the Phanar to get involved. The Phanar has previously made threats to revoke the Czech Lands and Slovakia's autocephaly (which it didn't grant).
      http://www.pravoslavnacirkev.info/aktuality/zpravodajstvi/740-patriarcha-bartolomej-je-zdesen-arcibiskup-simeon-byl-odvolan-nikoliv-kanonickym-postupem-ale-spise-nepruhlednymi-a-neprijatelnymi-zpusoby-synod-funguje-nezdrave-a-svevolne-usneseni-synodu-jsou-neplatna-arcibiskup-simeon-zustava-metropolitnim-spravcem
      (English at the bottom).

      The vultures from the Vatican are circling, of course.
      http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2014/01/16/uno-scisma-insidia-il-primato-del-patriarca-ecumenico/

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    2. Isa, I read the EP's letter on the Czech Lands & Slovakia Church's website via the link that you provided (thanks), but I can't say I have the timeline down.

      It looks like the at least the OCA & Antioch (Damascus) have accepted & congratulated +Rastislav as evidenced by their letters. Does the EP accept +Rastislav as the new primate or reject his election as being uncanonical? If considered uncanonical then does the EP have a plan to intervene or possibly attempt to revoke autocephaly?

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    3. From what I've seen in the Greek sources, the answer to your last questions are the Phanar rejectes Met. Ratislav, and talk of intervention and "revokation" of autocephaly are in the air(waves).

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    4. Wow. An attempt by Constantinople to revoke the autocephaly of the Church of the Czech Lands & Slovakia would be disturbing in light of the fact that the most recent pan-Orthodox agreement on the matter of autocephaly was that the granting of autocephaly (and one would assume rescinding of autocephaly) is to be initiated by the Church that said Church is/was canonically dependent on/part of, then submitted to the EP for distribution & discussion of all the other autocephalous Churchs & ultimately agreed upon by all the other autocephalous Churches, which is in keeping with the understanding that primacy & synodality are interdependent phenomena.

      If the EP is acting unilaterally it would seem to be a betrayal this recent agreement.

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  4. Something I have found interesting throughout the years is how much of a voice the Serbs have. The Greeks will listen. The Russians listen. OCA takes notice. And the Antiochians are an institution unto themselves. Should there be a solution, it will come from the Serbs. They are Slavs and Greeks combined.

    Antioch will follow suit once people pay attention to their plight. simple solutions for them are cooperation between Jerusalem and Greece on taking refugees from Syria.

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    1. That's because the Serbs work behind the scenes, don't go out of their way to antagonize anyone, are proud but not ruled by their pride.

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  5. Thanks for this Josephus. I appreciate the bite-sized synopsis.

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  6. http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2014/01/rocor-and-assembly-of-bishops.html?spref=fb

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    1. Thanks for posting this link. Fr. John's comments are insightful & tempered. However, it still stand by my comments from several days ago that ROCOR's appeal to canon 39 of the 6th Council to justify their position is simply untenable.

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  7. Is there a copy of Bishop Daniil's statement to be found? I have looked in various places but can not fund one.

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    1. I don't think he was even permitted to read the entire thing as the chairman stopped him after he got long-winded.

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