Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Head of Greek Archdiocese visits OCA Primate

This visit has given rise to the idea that the OCA is going to come up under the GOA. Really, any time the Greeks come visit the OCA the same rumor comes back up. It's much like when you put two fish of unequal size in the same fish tank and worry that one fish will surely eat the other one. These two churches function so differently that I can't imagine such a thing happening without horrible dyspepsia. The OCA wouldn't get anything out of it, and the Greek Archdiocese has enough to deal with (from the very public financial troubles still rocking it to constant complaints about how Chicago is being run to the instability at Holy Cross) to countenance any sort of jurisdictional piscatorial meal.

(OCA) - On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon met with His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidiphoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Having been in Cappadocia with His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during the time of the enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros, this was the first opportunity for His Beatitude to personally greet and congratulate His Eminence on his enthronement.

During the morning visit, His Beatitude and His Eminence discussed current relations and areas of future collaboration between the Orthodox Church in America and the Greek Archdiocese of America, and others matters of mutual interest.

His Beatitude was accompanied by Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America and Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak.


  1. Well if a time ever came that members of the OCA hierarchy decided to side with EP/GOA over MP, it’d be an automatic schism within the OCA as there’s no way it would go smoothly or unanimously. Thankfully I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    Maybe when/if the schism between MP and EP comes to a head and more drastic measures are being taken, but until then the OCA hierarchy will most likely hold its cards and wait.

    Meanwhile I wish we could focus more on being Orthodox and less on jurisdictions... seems like 1 Corinthians could just as easily have gone along the lines of “each of you says “I am of the GOA” or “I am of MP” or “I am of the OCA” is Christ divided?”

  2. Agreed. The idea of the OCA going under the EP is simply risible. I addressed a similar rumor on my blog a while back. Bottom line is that it aint happening.

  3. Beware the "non-canonicity of multiple jurisdictions" argument. The EP is precisely why we have thus problem.

    Look at Ligonier, who killed it?

    Look at the Episcopal Assmblies. If the EP were dealing honestly then their bishops would take a back seat.

    To make the excuse that the OCA or any jurisdiction accept Ukrainocephaly is rich.

  4. can't edit my comment but what I wanyed to say at conclusion is that jurisdictional unity is no excuse for Ukrainocephaly

    1. Wallace, which term do you prefer: Ukrocephaly or Ukrainocephaly?

  5. I've met both of these hierarchs in years gone by, and I've found both to be very warm & genuine. I spoke with then Archimandrite Elpidiphoros after a talk he gave at St. Vladimir's Seminary about 10 years ago, and I've been to confession with then Archbishop Tikhon about 12 years ago.

    While I believe that Abp. Elpidiphoros' positions on Constantinople's primacy & his related ecclesiology are heretical rather than merely being "interesting" theologoumena I respect much of what he is doing as the new Archbishop of the GOA.

    Most importantly, I think it is wonderful that these two primates are continuing to cultivate a genuine personal relationship rooted in mutual respect because I don't see much hope of overcoming the obstacles & achieving any type of unity if this foundation is not in place. May it be blessed!

    1. Considering that the new archbishop has "done" exactly nothing except pose for numerous pictures it's depressing to think of how to"respect much of what he is doing". That is the full time job of bishops pledging allegiance to overseas patriarchs. They age, they get replaced.

    2. Bob, I understand & respect your point, but in roughly a month he's also....

      ...raised just over a quarter of a million dollars that will go to finishing the St. Nicholas Church / Shrine.

      ...connecting with the monasteries & trying to connect the faithful with them as well...a powerful & longer-due action.

      ...helping to remedy the problems with Holy Cross/ Hellenic College in Brooklyn, MA and restore credibility after the financial issues in the GOA.

      ...making genuine efforts to cultivate relationships with bishops of other US jurisdictions.

      The reality is that it's a mixed bag of good & evil rather than a black & white situation as is so often the case in life. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: The line dividing good & evil run through every human heart.

  6. "...connecting with the monasteries & trying to connect the faithful with them as well...a powerful & longer-due action."

    Do we know (obviously I don't) what this was/is about on the part of Elpidiphoros ? It occurs to me it hinges on just how you define "faithful". On the one hand, you have the very (very very) secularized GOA constituency (pick a number, I choose 70% of "the faithful" in GOA) who either have no relationship or a sour relationship with the monasteries. They can have no other sort of relationship because the monastic life is the anti-thesis of their compromised and secular life. On the other hand you have "the faithful", who are have some sense of non-secularized Christianity and can "connect" with the monastic life (i.e. the other 30%). They come by the bus full (quite literally) to the monasteries. They are already "connected".

    I don't see how Archbishop Elpidiphoros can do anything other than tinker at the edges of this dynamic.

  7. The monasteries are trivial. The parish is where life happens. Let monks be monks. The womens monastery in Washington speaks nothing but Greek in services but you will notice their fund raising is all in English. Some things are more important than others. The bishop raising money to finish the embarrassing church near the world trade ceenter is an exmple of throwing bad money after good, a waste of time. If thgis is what he does for a living we can't afford him. He never would be missed.

    1. I have no arguments about the unfinished and terribly designed church by the WTC is embarrassing on multiple levels, but on the “monasteries are trivial” point I would have to point out how inaccurate that is. I personally don’t think the GOA hierarchy has much if any interest in promoting monasticism or the interest of the monasteries. Contrary to gossip, they survive entirely without help from the GOA, and are often reduced to begging for food donations etc. Also they use English in various parts of the services and have the readings in English now, at least at St. John’s in Goldendale WA, though that is in fact a trivial detail.

      Nevertheless the amount of spiritual health and benefit that they’ve imparted to the churches in America can’t be quantified, the countless lives (including my entire family’s) that they’ve helped through hard times with spiritual and practical help. If they are “trivial” then prayer for the world and for Orthodox Christians must necessarily be trivial. When a loved one is on their death bed and we ask the monasteries to pray for them, this must be trivial, if monasteries are trivial.

      Also the “life” of parishes that you speak of, is necessarily benefited by regular spiritual retreats which would not be possible without the monasteries. We live in a toxic and anti-theistic society, and monasteries are one of the few places lay people can go for a well needed rest and spiritual boost and detox from the world.

      I shudder to think what Orthodoxy in America today would be reduced to without the presence of the holy monasteries. Perhaps that’s not what you meant when you said they are “trivial” but I couldn’t help but point out how unorthodox that statement sounds.

    2. Sojourner, I agree completely, but I fear you are wasting your breath on this thread as am I. When the new archbishop celebrates a major feast at a monastery (St. Anthony's in AZ w/ Elder Ephraim no less), and sets up a meeting with all the monasteries & the bishops to establish healthy connections how is this not a cause for joy?!

      My initial point was that despite the fact we are not living in a land of rainbows & unicorns that all is not lost. There is good intermingled with the bad. We should be like the bee who flies from flower to flower to collect nectar rather than the fly who buzzes from one pile of excrement to the next. The choice is ours...

    3. " When the new archbishop ...sets up a meeting with all the monasteries & the bishops to establish healthy connections how is this not a cause for joy?!"

      Do you write speeches for the new Archbishop? ;)

    4. Jake, you're right. This couldn't mean anything other than Trouble (with a capital "t" no less):

      For the record I am not happy about who the new archbishop is because I believe is a heretic, albeit a very pleasant & charismatic one at that, and, no, I don't write his speeches.

      God spoke through Balaam's ass so have a little faith, my friend. Bee or fly...you choose.

    5. I think you and I are not far apart on this Timmy. On his canonical interpretations/judgements, I too believe they will one day, during the next *real* ecumenical council, declared heretical. Until then they are just a judgement and interpretation.

      Yes (and here we disagree), this assembly could very well indeed be trouble with a capital T. There are many ways it could go sideways for the monasteries and Orthodoxy in NA. Overall, GOA and its leadership are a negative, compromising, secularizing influence within Orthodoxy in NA. I suppose this particular assembly could buck the trend, but I think we need to be honest with ourselves and expect more of the same...