Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Frank words from Met. Nicholas of Detroit


  1. I could only stand to listen as far as the midpoint where His Eminence discusses the costs of hosting the Patriarch in NY. GOARCH is an untenable domestic ecclesial institution working at cross purposes to bolster a foreign Head whose own administration is on shaky ground. If they are trying to grow a Church in America, it’s obvious they aren’t doing well: visual clues of the demographic collapse of the domestic church are clear in the video; a few elderly ladies and one or two elderly men attend the Metropolitan’s speech.
    It makes me sad that Orthodoxy in America under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has come to this: an incoherent mission, tapped out resources and a shrinking polity. When His Eminence detailed ‘where the money went’ in the Archdiocese he just described Greeks being Greeks, essentially the same thing that happened to state funds in Greece that led to their economy’s implosion.
    Sic transit gloria mundi.

    1. As for the "few elderly ladies": I don't know, but I'm guessing that His Eminence was speaking to a parish Philoptochos group -- this partly from his focus on the diocesan "friendship program".
      Over the years I've met a few very dynamic, Gospel-oriented priests in the GOA, who have done impressive work to vitalize the parishes where they served. I like to hope that as the GOA gets poorer the fat-cat elements that weigh it down will be shed, and the work of these dedicated priests will become more characteristic of the organization.

  2. "...It makes me sad that Orthodoxy in America under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has come to this: an incoherent mission, tapped out resources and a shrinking polity..."

    That describes (in general - some will always point out the exceptions) the life of this Imperial Church of the East as a whole in NA for the last 100 years does it not? Could it be that the Orthodoxy does not have a clue as how to *be* the Church in a very successfully evangelizing secular culture?

  3. Jake,
    I think the OCA has a few clues as to how to be the Local Autocephalous Church. It would help evangelization if the large Imperial edifice that has come to dominate demographically and institutionally here, but has fallen down on the job so very badly would help rather than hinder the work though arrogance and chauvinism.
    Listen to the esteemed Archon and professor of Byzantine Studies at Fordham, Dr. George Demacopolis describes the solution to the American Orthodox problem:

    Skip to 37:50 for a surprise (not).

    1. Lance H.,

      Thanks for posting that - I watched about 3 minutes from that point. "Archon's" are the Jesuits of Orthodoxy are they not? ;)

      I am going to actually risk Hell fire and condemnation and agree with Demacopolis in a round about way. Well, not actually agree because I do not believe the EP in reality is the "only" way canonically (or otherwise - canons are historically conditioned and can be changed) toward real Unam Sanctam. He is right however to see that ALL the Orthodox "churches" (autocephalous or otherwise) are in reality ethno-national entities, and as such are not and can not really be the basis of real Unam Sanctam. Their commitments and ontology are just too local, to national, too ethnic to be the or "a" center and unifying principle.

      So what is the actual center, the "One Holy", and how does it manifest in this fallen world? The status quo answer is a vague (even "mystical") unity (said to be "dogmatic" and "liturgical" and "canonical") that does not stand up to even cursory scrutiny. 14 (or is it 16?) jurisdictions in NA alone (as just one example) rips the mask off this status quo answer/belief.

      The problem with Demacopolis assertion of the canonical role of the EP is that since the fall of the Empire (and really even during) is that the "strong" interpretation of the EP's canonical role has never actually manifested itself. He does not have the *authority* in spirit to bring such a strong interpretation to bear now - he is in fact weaker than ever given modern conditions (such as having a moribund flock) and his acquiescence to secularist polity/principles since the population exchange.

      All that said, I have to give credit where it is due and Demacopolis at least is starting with reality and asking the right question...

    2. As for "whispers" of the OCA coming under the EP: In all humility, I think I'm fairly well connected with OCA clergy, laity, and even hierarchs to some degree. And I believe that this is an outright delusion held by some higher-ups in the EP bubble. There is not the slightest chance that the OCA as a whole would submit to the EP. If the EP imagines that some fragment of the OCA can be peeled off, let's see.

  4. I wish there were more bishops this honest, in GOARCH and in the world. I don't know his record in general, and I am shocked to hear that he and the parishioners are so concerned about spending money on a visit by their patriarch, but he is honest and open about the reality that remaining Orthodox might mean being less Greek. I admit that I have found it difficult to not fall into judgement of the Ecumenical Patriarch(ate) for the past few years (I am in the Moscow Patriarchate). But this bishop's honesty and openness give me hope. God bless him!

  5. Mo,
    Darn tootin’! A GOA clergyman reported to me that Abp. Elpidophoros uttered this inanity in Long Beach 8/30/19. I asked him what the OCA could possibly gain by giving up autocephaly after 49 years. He said, “dunno, maybe be like the Hunkies and Albanians?” What a non-starter. I hope the new Abp. really is as dumb as he seems to be thinking we are even dumber. He plays ‘chopsticks’ and thinks it’s Rachmaninov.

  6. It looks like Metropolitan Nicholas has been reprimanded and forced to correct some of his "errors" while heaping praise on the EP and the AB.