Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Met. Jonah speaks at ACNA assembly in Bedford, TX

I went to this event as a reporter for a few local Orthodox groups. Since signing up to attend I thought repeatedly about what in the world would His Beatitude have to say to a group of break-away Anglican traditionalists. He had a LOT to say - I would go so far as to call his speech a "barn burner" complete with numerous standing ovations and cries of agreement.

I will mention in synopsis some of the things he said. He covered abortion and its consequences on women ("grave with long lasting grief"). He covered homosexuality ("not a result of nature or nurture, but of abandonment and neglect" and "an attempt to replace the parent child bond") as well as same-sex unions. He covered his opposition to female entrance into the presbyterate and episcopate ("not on misogynistic grounds" but as it is a "rejection of personhood, of feminine and masculine nature" and "with a deep desire to see women in a ministry, but not in that path"). He spoke against the streak of "anti-sacramentalism" in the Episcopal Church. I expect the full speech and video will be out shortly. My recollection is imperfect and incomplete.

More interesting he has reopened a dialogue with this Anglican group. With arms open he hopes to pick up where St. Tikhon left off. He gave an historical account of how the Episcopalians forced the dialogue to end by their actions and listed off (in "truth in love" and in a way "sure to offend some of you") about those things that they would have to do to if they wished to share the chalice. Most of you can guess what he listed: removal of the filioque, a rejection of Calvinism, no female ordinations, no gay marriage, and an extensive scholastic discussion about what unites and divides the two groups. In October at Nashotah House the OCA and the ACNA will meet to begin this dialogue. It is being billed as a picking up where the talks broke down and as such Metropolitan Jonah presented an icon of St. Tikhon to Archbishop-elect Duncan.

(ACNA) - The leader of the Orthodox Church in North America has re-kindled the oldest ecumenical relationship in Christian history. Addressing delegates and attendees of the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, said, “I am seeking an ecumenical restoration by being here today. This is God’s call to us.” This significant gesture represents the possibility of full communion being exchanged between the churches.

Metropolitan Jonah represents the North American branch of the Orthodox Church, a Christian denomination that has a long history of strong relationships with the Anglican Church. “We have to actualize that radical experience of union in Christ with one another,” Jonah said. Speaking for 45 minutes, the Metropolitan addressed the importance of looking past our differences in order to work together for mission. “Our unity transcends our particularity,” he said.

His Beatitude’s message was focused on unity but did not fail to address areas of contrasting beliefs between the two churches. Though united in upholding the authority of the Bible and uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox Church and Anglican Church in North America have differing opinions on matters such as the ordination of women and other doctrinal issues. Despite this, the Metropolitan told the audience that “our arms are open wide.”

Following the speech, a representative of an Orthodox seminary, St. Vladimir’s, announced a cooperative effort with Nashotah House, an orthodox Anglican seminary, that would help further these ecumenical relationships and what Jonah described as a “new dialogue between the Orthodox Church in North America and the new Anglican province in North America.


  1. Fr. Chad Hatfield, pictured here, is Chancellor of St. Vladimir's, and, interestingly, a graduate of Nashotah House.

  2. I was hoping to speak with him, but I would have been behind many Anglican clergy in waiting. Maybe he'll return with Met. Jonah for the Monastery Friends event next month.

  3. I would delight in the full text of His Beatitude Jonah's speech.