Monday, October 26, 2020

Surprise! People not happy Cyprus recognized OCU

(ROC) - On October 24, 2020, Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol, Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Bishop Nicholas of Amathounta made a joint statement on the recognition of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, calling him as Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to cancel immediately the anti-canonical decision to include the name of the ‘PCU’ head Epifaniy Dumenko in the diptych of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. Below is the full text of the statement.

With great concern and profound sorrow we have learnt that today, Sunday, October 24, during the Divine Liturgy at the Monastery of Our Lady of Golden Pomegranate at which the episcopal consecration of the Very Rev. Bishop Pankratios of Arsinoe was celebrated, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus mentioned Epifaniy as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’.

  1. This action of the Archbishop is a gross violation of the conciliar, collegial and democratic order of our Orthodox Church and of the way in which the Orthodox Church functions on the basis of this system.
  2. His Beatitude had posed this issue at the recent meeting of the Holy Synod (September 9, 2020) and it was agreed then to consider it at another meeting in order to listen to the opinions and stands of all the members of the Holy Synod and to adopt a conciliar decision on this matter.
  3. The recent promotion of Epifaniy by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’ has shaken the unity of the Orthodox Church and to this day, for reasons outside the scope of this document, he is recognized only by the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Alexandria. The rest of the Local Orthodox Churches have taken a negative position on this issue. (It is noteworthy that during the ‘consecration’ [apparently, this purports to be ‘enthronement’] of the above-mentioned Epifaniy, none of the representatives of Local Orthodox Church were present, however it may be understood).
  4. He who was proclaimed as ‘Primate’ of the Church of Ukraine by Patriarch Bartholomew has no canonical ordination whatsoever because he comes from schismatic groups of the Ukrainian Church. If His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch had really wished to observe the canonical order in granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, he should have turned to canonical Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and, in addition, should have had the consent of the Moscow Patriarchate on this matter which concerns it, just as the consent of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.
  5. The action of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant ‘autocephaly’ to the schismatic structures of the Ukrainian Church is an arbitrary, uncanonical and anti-church action since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. As we have already stated above, it is an intervention in the jurisdiction of this Patriarchate. Because of this fact, the Russian Church in a counter action has justifiably suspended church communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as with the Churches of Greece and Alexandria. To which the EP will respond with its unique understanding of the lands of Ukraine and its connection to Russia.
  6. According to the holy canons and practice of our Church, the granting of autocephaly is thinkable and possible only subject to a preliminary approval by the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. However, in this case, the Ecumenical Patriarch acted in this matter unilaterally and arbitrarily, contrary to what the holy canons and church Tradition say and in conflict with his own previous statements. Regrettably, this example has also been followed by the Primate of the Church of Cyprus ignoring his Holy Synod and disregarding it. I mean... no one follows this supposed rule.
  7. The decision of the Archbishop of Cyprus to mention Epifaniy as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’ has made more complicated the already tense situation among Orthodox Church, augmenting the threat of schism facing the Universal Orthodoxy and recklessly bringing this atmosphere into the Church of Cyprus too.
  8. We call upon His Beatitude to cancel immediately his anti-canonical and invalid action and at the same time we ask all the fellow-bishops of the Church of Cyprus to demand together the convocation of an extraordinary session of our Holy Synod in order to consider this matter and to make an appropriate decision. Most hierarchs try to make as few waves as possible. So any rocking of the boat is rare for bishops. Even more rare is cancellation of an action after it has happened. The idea seems to be that he looks even more weak if he not only errs, but then has to make a U-turn as well. That's why most church websites simply delete uncomfortable histories instead of publicly retracting or apologizing for mistakes.
  9. Finally, we should underscore the ill-time nature of this decision of our Primate considering the crucial time in which we live with regard to our national problem as well as the threatening action undertaken by Turkey in her insatiable expansion threatening to diminish our people.

We state all the above confident in our rightfulness, aware of our hierarchal responsibility and the sacred duty to safeguard the canonical order of the Church in order to avoid the cardinal sin of schism since, according to St. John Chrysostom, ‘the sin of schism cannot be washed away even by the blood of a martyr’.


  1. His Beatitude didn't just decide to do this willy nilly. Perhaps his timing took people by surprise (not convening the Synod first), but not his decision. The Synod will be convened, and what will likely be revealed is that His Beatitude quietly hashed this out with the other bishops over the last year (with the exception of these 4). I could be wrong, of course, and it could be a big dust up. I pray that doesn't happen.

    Everyone is still making a big deal about Metropolitan Epiphany's ordination. He was received by the EP beforehand, essentially being "vested." The man is at the very least an EP Bishop uncanonically squatting on the MP's territory. But "Squatter" doesn't quite pack the same propagandistic punch as "schismatic."

  2. "...According to the holy canons and practice of our Church, the granting of autocephaly is thinkable and possible only subject to a preliminary approval by the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches....I mean... no one follows this supposed rule."

    Right. 10,973 cannon warrior bonus points to the first person who can cite the canonical definition and procedure for "autocephaly"

  3. If only four or five Cypriot bishops actually disagree on this, then it already has defacto passed the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus. Calling a Holy Synod now will just be a formality.

    Papalism? No. Ethnophyletism? Sorry, but the Ukrainians aren't Greek.

    1. We don't know yet exactly what the others think. Metropolitan Athanasius has said he only spoke with the other 3 bishops that he wrote the letter with. So it's not like others were asked and refused. I've read that it's pretty evenly split, and a fierce battle is on for the voice of the final bishop. This is almost certainly why Patriarch Theodoros was recently in Cyprus.

  4. Perhaps an early retirement for the Archbishop?

    1. At 79 years old and struggling with cancer, I wouldn't call it an early retirement. He might be looking to retire though. Perhaps that makes him all more willing to be the "Fall Guy" on this.

  5. Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol clarified his position today while responding to calls on his radio program:

    "Much care and prayer is needed because this is an issue that has caused many problems and issues and we neeed to take care not to prolong them but to strive to overcome them through our prayer, love and humility. We hope that our good God can help the Church to return to the communion of love and faith."

    "Look brother, the Ukraine issue is a complicated subject. I responded yesterday [walking out at the end of the liturgy] because I heard the commemoration without being notified beforehand, without this being a decision of the synod and because the Church expresses itself through the decisions of synods and not through isolated decisions of the first hierarch so this was a matter for the synod to decide. That is why and left and reacted that way. Of course, the issue was discussed at the synod in September where we decided to postpone any decisions and that's where we left off. Yet, the Archbishop commemorated him without our knowledge which saddened us and caused us to not accept his action.

    Now, as to what what Elder Gabriel did, I dont know but we need to be very careful not to overdo it because cutting ourselves off from the Church is not a good thing. Ok, we may have disagreements, we may have different points of view and disagree with certain actions of the Ecumenical Patriarch but I don't agree that we should cut ourselves off from the Church or the Ecumenical Patriarch. We can remain united to our Church in order to have our views and rightly divide the word of truth.

    Now, I believe that our Russian brothers will cease commemoration of Archbishop Chrysostom because he commemorated Epiphany whom they view as schismatic and anticanonical. Let's pray that all this does not lead to worse things."

    "The Russians clarified that they are not severing communion with the Church of Cyprus but with the Archbishop."

    "If our synod accepts it [the commemoration of Epiphany], we accept the decision of the synod but we maintain our perspective. We can say that we did obedience to our synod but that we maintain our perspective. We can disagree with but submit to the synod. We have the right to disagree with a particular synodical decision. During a synod, we all have our views but at the end the majority view prevails and we are all obligated to to do obedience to the majority decision of the synod. We do obedience despite disagreeing."

    "If the synod comes up with something heretical then that is a different story. Then of course, we will not accept the decision. But the Ukraine issue is not a matter of heresy but a matter or order; not faith."

    "The three anticanonical, schismatic bodies were united and recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate but the problem is that the canonical church under Metropolitan Onoufy was disregarded."

    "It's harsh to say that the OCU is heretical. They are anticanonical at the moment."

  6. It's interesting that the two hierachs who followed up the letter with comments through interviews and radio disagree about where they go from here. Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol indicated that he will do obedience to a synodical decision whereas Nikiphoros of Kykkou stated that he will not attend a synodical meeting that will likely pass an anticanonical decision despite point #8 in the letter that demands an extraordinary session be held to deal with the issue.

  7. While the God fearing bishops who signed this letter are all humble and pious men who are acting out of love for the Church, according to their conscience and out of fidelity to the holy canons, there is also definitely another consideration at play. Moscow-based media will not mention it, but there are considerable Russian ties to Cyprus and the Orthodox Church there, so much so Limassol is jokingly referred to as Limassolgrad. A quick Google search can establish the secular connections and those familiar the Church there are aware of the close spiritual ties as well. So this announcement is important in helping ensure order and stability in areas that are exposed to Russian influence and would be immensely adversely affected by a new MP exocommunication/boycott/whatever.

  8. "...according to St. John Chrysostom, ‘the sin of schism cannot be washed away even by the blood of a martyr’."

    I never get tired of reading this. It is also a favourite quote of internet traditionalists who praise ROCOR to the heavens while proclaiming that their political enemies within the Church have apostasized. While regularly quoting from Orthodoxinfo, it does not even dawn on this type of self-proclaimed traditionalist that some of the articles they cite were written by schismatics and that their favourite jurisdiction was not too long ago in communion with a schismatic from Greece who was defrocked twice and whom if memory serves me correctly St. Paisios warned others of!

    If this is the calibre of the "gold standard jurisdiction" then our standard is quite poor. Perhaps it's best to leave all our opinions of others aside because we are full of faults too.

  9. The Metropolitan of Limassol, along with the Metropolitan of Tamassol and the Metropolitan of Kykkos (3 of the bishops who penned this letter), completely ignored the Cyprus Holy Synod's decision to be neutral on the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly when they spoke publicly against it at a monastic conference last year organized by the Moscow Patriarchate. All three were later reprimanded by Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    So now they're complaining about Archbishop Chrysostom ignoring his Holy Synod? If indeed he is, then he's only doing what these three other bishops have already done.

    1. As the Metropolitans themselves explaine, the Synod's decision to be neutral never said individual bishops couldn't voice their opinion. It was about the Cypriot Church remaining neutral, maintaing Eucharistic Communion with both Moscow and Constantinople -- the Church not taking a side.

      They only voiced their opinions.

      The Archbishop took an action that is necessarily the taking of sides. He violated the neutrality; they didn't.

    2. To his credit, the Metropolitan of Limassol has said that he will obey whatever decision is made by the Holy Synod, whether he agrees with it or not. In other words, it doesn't sound like Cyprus will go into schism over this.

  10. Sometimes I really dislike all medieval court machinations and obfucations of the Patriarchs. Whatever happened to the command of Matthew 5:37
    "Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Whatever is more than this is of the evil one."

    God help us--this crap has nothing to do with our actual faith. A pox on both their houses.

  11. Canon warfare makes us all canon fodder

  12. Joseph, I would think the statement "A pox on both their houses" would be abundantly clear. It is actually a triple NO.

    NO to Bartholomew; NO to Chrysostomos; NO to the pusillanimous letter from the gang of four

    "Montague, Capulet! See what a scourge is laid upon thy hate that heaven doth find means to kill thy joys with love"

    God forgive us.

  13. Michael Bauman,

    Court politics have always been with us. The Will of God cuts through the fog very quickly.

  14. A very interesting pattern now appears to be emerging. The Primates of Alexandria, Greece, and now Cyprus are commemorating Metropolitan Epifany of the OCU without any official Holy Synod vote. Why? Because it provides a backdoor for Russia to still maintain communion with their church through any vocal bishops who openly oppose the OCU's recognition. Without a Holy Synod vote, those bishops still maintain communion with Russia and also with their local church.

    This pattern is probably the blueprint for more to come. As long as the Primates of the churches don't have a Holy Synod vote, their bishops can still theoretically maintain communion with Russia if they want. Meanwhile, Russia will just keep crossing off names from their diptychs. It's a game of reductio ad absurdum.

    With this blueprint established, what's to prevent any of the Primates of the local churches from commemorating Metropolitan Epiphany? I expect many more to come.

  15. Russia could be left with only commemorating the OCA's Metropolitan Tikhon at the diptychs. That would be hilarious.

    1. Won’t happen because most autocephalous aren’t controlled by Greeks, thankfully. You seriously think Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Antiochian etc. will fall into line behind Bartholomew? No, they won’t.

    2. Lance, the deciding factor is how much each of these churches fear reprisal from Russia through loss of Russian pilgrims and/or Russian military support.

      The Church of Antioch is basically being propped up by the Russian military right now.

  16. No Joseph, that would not be good.

    The Moscow Patriarchate is angry. It is the same anger that the EP felt a century or two ago when it saw its canonical territory reduced. Anathemas were thrown, words were exchanged, and schisms happened. This time, it's the MP's turn. What is sad is that they did not think that their support of these movements in the previous centuries would turn and find them in the end.

    Of course they will fight to hold on. The EP did the same. But, in the end, the OCU will be recognized.

    THAT is what the EP meant when he said that the Russians will have to accept it in the end. The EP was speaking from historical experience.

    1. Seriously, my hope is that the Russian Church will realize soon enough that they can't just keep crossing names off their diptychs over this. It's absurd and ridiculous. The Primates of Alexandria and Cyprus took their time and were not pressured to recognize the OCU. More churches will now follow their lead.

      How many more names will be crossed off the ROC's diptychs before they stop using the Holy Eucharist as a weapon of political pressure?

    2. Well David, that's all good, but that ecclesiology descends into chaos sooner or later.

      Likening the Ukraine controversy to the OCA is not only a stretch, but just absurd. The political and wartime situation isn't even remotely the same. Hundreds of thousands were being persecuted and murdered by the Commies. World War I, then World War II.

      This is not what's happening in the world right now.

      The OCA was granted Autocephaly in 1970. This was only after decades of bishops, clergy, and faithful not only living in exile, but with no real ties to their Mother Church in Moscow. The Diaspora was a way of life with no other options.

      Communist control in Russia was the norm until the early 90's, so decades after Autocephaly. BTW, the HAH and the EP don't recognize the Autocephaly of the OCA to this day. Not exactly a stellar example if one is trying to legitimize the model, so....

      Of course, Ukraine already had a universally recognized Hierarch, Met. Onuphry. We know this because not only have other Primates concelebrated with him in the past, they also have recognized him as such in writing.

      HAH took a unilateral action to "autocephalize" Epifany.

      Well, whatever, but, you, know, which Primates showed up to the inaugural Liturgy.

      Schism is a funny thing. Crossing off in the diptychs another.

      Maybe Russia should just rescind the Korea situation, claim the Korean Church as their own. Laity voting on "protection" is a pretty bunk ecclesial approach. So, I guess the EP gets "Ukraine", but Russia gets Asia?


    3. Joseph Lipper, it's hard to believe you could truly believe there was no pressure on Greece and Alexandria and Cyprus to recognize the OCU. Pull thine head from the sand, friend.

    4. Great, please explain how Alexandria and Cyprus are being "pressured". Metropolitan Hilarion simply insists that they are somehow being pressured by Constantinople and the U.S., AND THEN he proceeds to make threats against any Cypriot bishop who recognizes the OCU. Has Constantinople made any threats? No. Has the U.S. made any threats against the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus? I'm all ears.

    5. One irony to all this is that prior to the reunion with the Moscow Patriarchate, ROCOR members in Ukraine had accused their then rival MP of intimidating them in order to prevent ROCOR parishes from being established and registered on Ukrainian soil. Threats involved problems bring created for these parishioners at their workplace and for their children at school.

      Who did the local ROCOR bishop accuse of being behind all this? None other than Metropolitan Onufry!

    6. The granting of autocephaly to the Metropolia (OCA) by the Soviet-controlled Moscow Patriarchate did not come without strong opposition from within the diaspora Russian Church which viewed the autocephaly as a political maneuver led by a Metropolitan who went on to die at the feet of the Pope. Fr. Seraphim Rose had written the following caustic remarks in a letter atthe time:

      "Archbishop Anthony, by the way, reminded us of a point which we haven’t seen mentioned anywhere in the autocephaly arguments: Moscow in 1933 excommunicated Metr. Platon and everyone in the Metropolia; if the Metropolia recognizes Moscow as “canonical,” then this act too is “canonical”—and the Metropolia has had no sacraments for 36 years! If I were a priest or layman in the Metropolia, that would give me cause for worry, indeed—to have to live with the realization that until the autocephaly is signed (when, presumably, “economy” would take effect) every sacrament that I administered or received would be invalid, and thus a mockery and blasphemy of God! Of course, we do not believe that the excommunication was canonical, any more than we believe that the autocephaly will be canonical. But whatever the one is, the other must be the same!"

      If I were a member of the OCA, I would not feel like I was in position to be critiquing the OCU.

  17. Father, Bless.

    My comparison with the OCA is only in terms of their autocephaly being controversial and not universally recognized (The Slavic Churches recognize it, the Greek Churches don't). With the OCU, it is looking to be vice versa. This situation didn't stop Metropolitan Tikhon from concelebrating with HAH recently.

    I am not trying to "legitimize" it. It is a bad situation, but there is a precedent to "work around it." That is the whole point I am making. It is the same with the question of the OCU ordinations. The MP isn't the only who can "vest" schismatic clergy (IE Roman Catholics) or wave the Synodal hand and grandfather in all canonical irregularities, "fixing them" (as they did with the ROCOR reunion).

    I'm not criticizing them for that (I think what they did in the ROCOR situation was good and right), what I am critical of is their use of such economy in their own situation and then all of sudden turn to severe akrevia when it comes to Ukraine. I've said it before, and I will say it again: If Lazar Puhalo is a Bishop, then so is Epiphany Dumenko. The personal "Oh I don't recognize him, blah blah...." doesn't wash. A Synod has declared them a bishop. The hypocrisy on the part of the MP here is lamentable and glaring. They would not be acting in this way if this was a vagante Diocese in Brazil. This really is just about Ukraine.

    As for Korea, the MP is already trying to do that. Sadly, the only thing they have managed to do is divide the Russians living in Korea (some left to join their new structure, but others remain with the Korean Metropolis). The pastoral situation during the Korean War and after necessitated the EP's presence. If you knew anything about the Korean Metropolis or its people you wouldn't be taking pot shots like that.

    1. My mentioning of His Eminence Lazar (for those who are bristling at seeing those words, I honor the OCA's Synodal decision) and the other controversial stuff is not in a spirit of attack, but to highlight the painful double standard here.

      I have a deep affection for the Russian Church, and it is painful to see all of this happening. There are Russian Orthodox websites I can't visit anymore because they have become dominated by this garbage, instead of the spiritually edifying content they are also known for (I think you know which website I am talking about).

    2. "...If Lazar Puhalo is a Bishop, then so is Epiphany Dumenko..."

      This pithy statement about REALITY of actual Church being really underlines the delusion (innocent or not) of the (canonical) legal mind. The Church, people, cultures and Christ Himself are not legal entities...

    3. It was the OCA's Archbishop Dimitri of the Diocese of the South who was one of the biggest champions for receiving Archbishop Lazar Puhalo into the OCA with episcopal rank intact, despite the fact that Archbishop Lazar's episcopal ordination, just like Metropolitan Epiphany's, comes entirely from the so-called "Kievan Patriarchate".

      Yet while this little fact of episcopal ordination is not considered any fundamental problem for relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the OCA, it's been made out to be a huge obstacle for the MP in recognizing the episcopacy of Metropolitan Epiphany.

      It would then be a heighth of irony if the Russian Orthodox Church ended up crossing everyone off their diptychs, except for the OCA's Metropolitan Tikhon. Since recognition of Ukraine's OCU is not really an option for Metropolitan Tikhon, he could end up being the last man standing in the Russian diptychs.

    4. One minor difference, Abshp Lazar was recieved as retired and rarely serves as a Bishop. I think this was EPs hope to have that one MP Bishop elected as head as it would have headed off some of the rhetoric.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. "One minor difference, Abshp Lazar was received as retired and rarely serves as a Bishop..."

      The man is far from retired. I would say he is the least "retired" bishop in the OCA. He works very hard to *sell* my children a witches brew of 'isms' (homosexualism, environmentalism, etc.), his deadly mix of modern and Christian anthropology.

      As Joseph Lipper points out, the "saintly" Dimitri of the South was his champion. I was in an OCA parish of the South for a couple of years (North Carolina) during the financial brewhaha when "saint" Dimitri sent the parish a letter (after an inquiry from the parish board made its way to him) telling us to mind our own business. I never met the man, but I was distinctly unimpressed.

      Met Tikhon a few years back corrected all the priests and laity who had dared to point out Fr. Arida's homosexualist essay (found on the OCA's Boston Cathedral's website to this day, though in edited/cleansed form) posted to the OCA's youth "Wonder Blog" was what it was. Met. Tikhon explained to us it was instead everyone but Fr. Arida, our failure of dialogue, listening, and spirituality ( - and of course left unaddressed how Fr. Arida then and apparently well after continued to communion his homosexual activist daughter ("married" as she is to another women) and other such 'couples'.

      sarcasm on/ Now that I think about it, OCA clerics are in a unique position to wag their finger at the EP and the millions of Orthodox in the Ukraine who find themselves in the OCU. After all, canonicity covers a multitude of sins... /sarcasm off

  18. The Lord Bless you!

    TBH, it seems to me that in an in-person discussion, we'd ultimately end up brothers with an almost identical perspective, albeit likely articulated slightly differently.

    I'm an OCA priest for a reason.

    I lament that my posting about the Korean situation can be misconstrued as a pot shot. Alas, my rhetorical style is undoubtedly the culprit. It's a personality quirk for sure.

    IN terms of Korea, whether the EP presence was necessary or not, this is EXACTLY the kind of argument that gets HAH in trouble. No one questioned the Russian Mission to Korea. Then suddenly, because War, the EP has unassailable jurisdiction and the Russians are encroaching because Communism fell?

    As I said, it's bunk eccleisology. But at the same time, I don't see it as a major issue. The Peace you give is the peace you receive. HAH has no issue being the primate over Korea and America, yet, suddenly, there is an issue in Ukraine? Rescind a 300 year old arrangement unilaterally?

    Korea aside, the OCA still has no recognition of Autocephaly from HAH. Terrible.

    Let's one honest though, the American situation has nothing to do with politics---it's all about finances; money. Will Jurisdictions relinquish their "claims"in the US and recognize the Autocephalous OCA? Certainly not. Too Much money at stake. Can you see the OCA being handled Holy Cross Seminary and Hellenic College?

    How about Antiochian Village? Will Antioch ever deed it to a Pennsylvania OCA Hierarch?
    A preposterous idea.

    Personally, I've already been to Ukraine twice in the last five years. I was even blessed to serve with Met. Onuphry at the Lavra. My step mother IS Ukrainian, so the Ukraine issue is a family issue for me, much like it is, I imagine for millions of Ukrainians--whether they like Russia or not.

    The question for me, above all, transcends those family links, even the ecclesial Joy I've felt serving in the Lavra and various places across Ukraine.

    For me, the issue is about our relation to one another everywhere.

    When bunk ecclesiology prevails, we all lose.

    Having been a place or too in the Orthodox world, I remain optimistic. Honestly, I just don't have a reason not to be.

    A few years ago, I traveled to the Republic of Georgia. I can't really relate to you the immense joy and grace of this pilgrimage, let alone the blessing of serving in Sioni Cathedral, or venerating the multitude of relics and saints. I just can't...

    What I will say, and what I'll leave y'all with is this:

    A boy who grew up in the rural South of the Mississippi Delta, raised a Roman Catholic, who converted to Holy Orthodoxy in College, was ordained an OCA priest and went on to serve with Met. Onuphry in Kiev at the Lavra AND later Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi, Georgia.

    This is the Orthodoxy that's pumping through the veins of converts. The ones that get so lambasted as convertodox, the ones single out for scorn. If we are ever going to have a truly recognized Orthodox Church of America, it's going to be because of those converts, not some abritrary foreign arrangement that entails an international leash.

    But as some might say, this is all just my OPINION.
    Nothing here to see, just move along folks...

    1. I like what you say about the *organic* nature of ecclesia - that any abiding Church in America, however it is going to rise from the historical ashes of the Church of the East and it's 'jurisdictional' and 'diaspora' beginnings here in NA in particular, is going to be up to us. In other words it will be our conversion of the heart, and then a pragmatic life *in* our culture (and not a nostalgic fiction of reliving/remembering Holy Rus, the Greek village, Romanian this or Arab that, etc.). If we can accomplish this conversion, then the high level stuff "canonical" structure, Greek vs. Slav, Old Rome vs. New Rome vs. Third Rome, and all this other baggage won't matter anymore.

      Ecclisia is downstream from culture. If we want organic "American" Orthodoxy, then our Cult...ure - our Cult of Christ - comes first because first things first.

      What I push back against is this tendency to look at all this through a (canonical) legal lens - that if we just get the canonical structure/process right, then PUUFF! the Church of Christ just is. Beyond that it apparently needs to be pointed out again (and again, and again) that this Church of the East's canonical structure is this old rickety thing, last maintenance in dry dock was 1300 years ago when the Empire still existed, and it has been taking on water since. Yet we keep acting like there are actual (canonical) legal answers and precedent for third, fourth, and more Romes, Patriarchs of dead Empires, and jurisdictional diaspora.

      How long can we test God by clinging on to what you rightly call "bunk ecclesiology"? How long will His patience with uslast? I have no idea, but I usually have other matters to attend to. I am pressed on all sides by secular culture that is at once both subtle and aggressive, and wants to form me and my children and my parish into its own image. This is not a (canonical) legal concern and even Holy Russia (or Holy Ukraine) and/or the idyllic Greek village has very very little to do with it. First things first...

    2. I am late to this thread. Fr. Alexis' and Jake's comments are excellent. Secular culture consumes us and the time is growing very short. American churchmen will probably just have to step up to the plate one day because there is no indication the Patriarchs have any idea what to do.

  19. Father,

    No doubt we would get along in person. Our ecclesiology is messy, I think, because we are human. The Lord operates and saves us despite ourselves. The Latin Church tried to create an infallible "system," and the fruits are sadly there for all to see. I believe that this sad situation will not endure, and there will be a "clean up" so to speak. We're not there yet, but I firmly believe it will happen. A true Pan-Orthodox Council will happen eventually. In God's time.

    The issue of Korea is interesting, because it speaks to the Ukraine issue on the pastoral front. The Russian Mission in Korea became untenable and impossible to continue, because of the Cold War politics we have mentioned. The MP was compromised by the KGB, and the South Korean government was not about to let any possible agent of Soviet Russia operate in their territory. The Russian Mission was expelled before the War, and due to Russia's alliance with North Korea, a Mission after the War was impossible. Should the Korean people have waited until 1991 for the Sacred Mysteries? No. The EP was the only place they could turn (It was the Greek Expeditionary Force who took care of them prior to the petition). Over the decades, a thriving Pan-Orthodox Metropolis was built. The Slavophones in Korea have all of their Liturgical and Spiritual needs met. There was no reason for the MP to send a Mission. In friendlier times, the MP loaned the Korean Metropolis a priest, the Hieromonk Theophan. He served for a decade as a friend and brother of the Metropolis. He is now the Bishop of the MP's structure in Korea, adding to the bitterness of the situation.

    In Ukraine, it is indeed a family situation. The OCU are not just bomb throwers, despite the propaganda. Many of them are former Uniates (or come from Uniate families) and disaffected Ukrainians with particular issues against the MP. The wounds of the Soviet period run deep, as you know better than I do. As a pastor, can we expect these people to return to the MP, when the situation is as it is? It has become untenable for the MP to effectively minister to the people of the OCU, for all of the tragic reasons we can enumerate. Is Akrevia the best way to go here? If the goal is the salvation of souls and healing wounds, I don't see how a hard line contributes to either. The EP actually tried to look into the matter in the 90s, but was bluntly told to mind its own business. The EP waited until 2008, when he personally again broached the topic with the MP. Again, "Mind your own business." Nothing was being done, except to demand their "repentance." The issue was not being resolved. We're not talking a vagante parish in rural America, we're talking about a Church that is numerically larger than all of American Orthodoxy put together (and that is using the conservative estimates).

    The OCU and the UOC-MP will co-exist for now (an uneasy peace has already started to settle in). That has to be enough for the moment. The rest is in God's hands.