Thursday, May 30, 2024

OCA takes strong stand for canonical Orthodoxy

( - The primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington and All America and Canada, will concelebrate with the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, in western Ukraine later this week.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Diocese of Chernivtsi and Bukovina “awaits the visit of the primate of the Orthodox Church in America on June 1–2, 2024. Solemn services will be held in the Cathedral of the Descent of the Holy Spirit in Chernivtsi, with the participation of both primates.”

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America formally rejects communion with the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” recognizing only the canonical UOC under Met. Onuphry.

The Ukrainian primate was the honored guest at the OCA’s 18th All-American Council in July 2015.


  1. "The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America formally rejects communion with the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine..."

    Is this true? I do not believe the OCA has "formally" broken communion with the EP or any ethno-national church under him.

    One thing that can not be denied, the OCA is "formally" in communion with those who ordain women, so...

  2. The OCA can't really recognize the present Ukrainian autocephaly anyways. Doing so would mean that Russia would break communion and therefore no longer recognize the autocephalous status they granted to the OCA. That's simply not a tenable situation.

    It might sound strange, but without Moscow's support of the OCA's autocephaly, and without communion with Moscow, the OCA would be in canonical limbo. Such was the awkward status of the pre-OCA "Metropolia" right before autocephaly was granted in 1970. The OCA's Metropolitan Theodosius, memory eternal, has specifically written about this.

    Metropolitan TIkhon has also concelebrated twice with Patriarch Bartholomew since the Russian Church broke relations with the EP in 2018. Of note, this didn't receive any criticism from Moscow either. However, if Metropolitan Tikhon were to concelebrate with any bishop of Ukraine's autocephalous OCU, there is no doubt in my mind that Moscow would immediately pull the rug out from underneath him.

  3. Note also, the OCA hasn't recognized the autocephaly of the "Macedonian Orthodox Church" either:

    Although Russia has recognized it as of August 2022:

  4. Christ is Risen!

    Moscow wouldn't "revoke" the Tomos, because they have already clearly said that such a thing is impossible. The MP stated this in reaction to Metropolitan Job (Getcha) of Pisidia's ridiculous musings on "revoking" the autocephaly of Moscow. Constantinople also apparently believes that the autocephalies of the other Churches are "provisional," until they are "confirmed at an Ecumenical Council." Also nonsensical.

    His Beatitude (Axios!) is being consistent. Like it or not, the OCA supports the UOC of its own free will, much like the other Churches (the State Department is trying to provoke ANOTHER schism in Bulgaria sadly, I pray it doesn't succeed).

    With that said, I pray this event happens, but it likely will not (I would love to be wrong). I think His Beatitude will have "VISA issues," or he will be turned away at the airport for "Security reasons" (much like Patriarch Porphyrius of Serbia in Kosovo).

    As for the MACEDONIAN Orthodox Church (quotations stripped and name capitalized for oomph and emphasis), that is also a political football.

    Personally, I find the hypocrisy of Greek pundits repugnant, because if Ukraine is a "real country," so is Macedonia. They deplore "ethnophyletism" and condemn Russian "chauvinism," but freely engage in their own (And when they are called out, the "We Gave Orthodoxy to You" Gaslighting begins, with the ugly slur that Slavs were only "half-Orthodox" to begin with, and never acquired "the right phronema"-----American converts are often "Vatniks," and so they get lumped in there too) It is a sad feature of Old World Orthodoxy, but I don't have to stomach it, or "play the game." The MACEDONIAN Church is canonical and autocephalous. "Recognition" is a minor detail, if the Chalice is shared and there is Communion (which there is).

  5. How does Metropolitan Tikhon planning to concelebrate with the schismatic head of an acephalous church outside Orthodoxy in any way make a strong stand for any canon? This 'Metropolitan' Onuphrius claims he has broken with his canonical authority and had the synod under him begin acting as an autocephalous church. This after endorsing the call for Ukrainian Orthodox autocephaly in the early 1990s. (Surely anathema to all the russophiles in and of itself.) In what way are his actions canonical? The hypocrisy of this given the sources is just breathtaking...

  6. If Patriarch Kirill stopped commemorating Metropolitan Tikhon at Divine Liturgy, that is if he broke communion with him, then the OCA's autocephaly is defacto terminated. Churches that give lipservice to the OCA, like Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, and Serbia all have patriarchal parishes in the U.S., and they seriously could care less about American autocephaly. Meanwhile, the Greek churches who have always viewed the OCA as part of the Russian Church would technically have to agree that if Russia says the OCA is schismatic, well then the OCA is schismatic. The invitation to join the Greek Archdiocese's Slavic Vicariate would probably come the next day.

  7. The UOC isn't schismatic.   Not even the EP has declared it as such.   The UOC has chosen the messy "ROCOR option" as the path forward (the key difference being that the vast majority of the Orthodox world remains in communion with them).   Their "status" will be resolved after the guns are silent.

       As for Metropolitan Onuphry signing the statement in the 90s, I think we need to look at who was asking for it and what was going on.   Philaret is a schismatic nutter butter with enough skeletons in his closet to decorate a 1000 Halloween parties.   His actions since then and even now after the Tomos show that his defrocking and anathemization were fully justified (the EP never revealed how they re-habilitated him).   I'd withdraw my signature too.   Political pressure is a real thing.   From Florence, to the Renovationists and Sergianists, to today (I wince when I see the Youtube videos of Patriarch Theodore of Alexandra showering the UOC with love and support).

    The OCA's autocephaly is no longer dependent on Moscow, and it never was dependent on Constantinople (the OCA went to the EP for a resolution, and were told to talk to Moscow, their Mother Church. They did just that.)

     You seem to think that autocephaly depends on the EP.  The EP is a notary and coordinator of the autocephaly process, he is not the arbiter or decider.   Of course, that disagreement is a very old one, and I won't rehash it here (it is obvious we are on opposite sides of that debate).   The OCA will still make chrism, and still do its thing, no matter what Constantinople or Moscow think.  

  8. The OCA has survived, on its own since 1920. it will continue to survive and flourish because it is an American church, not an etho-centric one.

    The idea of a united orthodox church on American soil ia not a new one. In fact, back in the 1950's we had Patriarch Joseph I, (Klimovich) of Springfield, Mass. with his synod of Greek Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Polish National Catholic, African Othodox bishops etc. tried to make it happen.

    Actually, the foreign patriarchs have dying dioceses in America because they are not part of the fabric of our our country and as their ethnic zaelots repose, their children have more American allegencies than ones to the old country.

    The Slavic Vicarite appears to be more smoke and mirrors than an actual entity. for two years i have attempted to obtain a copy of their calendar, which is touted on their website and the goa's. Both snail mail and e-mails have have not received any response.

    So for Americans, I see the OCA as the perfect option, for the most part they will not try to Arabicize you, Hellenize you, Ukrainianize you, Romanianize you etc. They have made a commitment since 1794 to be part of the fabric of America and to bring Eastern Orthodox Christianity to America.

    The era of etho-centric Eastern Orthodox churches is over, growth is no longer due to immigration, as Alexei Kindratch has pointed out. we need to retain our children and bring in converts and we do so by being missionaries for Christ - we need to focus on our souls and not our ethnic identities.

    We are Eastern Orthodox Christians, Orthodox is an adjective, Eastern is an adjective, they both define the noun Christian. So the ethnic descriptor - Antiochian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, Ukrainian etc. becomes redundant, it adds little if any value to the faith definition. It only defines the ethnic country club that you wish toi be part of.

    We need to focus on being Eastern Orthodox Christians in America.

    So, how much the etho-centrists may want the OCA to vaporize, I see just the opposite happening. The time came for an autocephaous American Church, and we now have it. Self governing since 1920, Autocephalous since 1970. It has stood the test of time.

    In the immortal words of Saint Tiny Tim,"God Bless Us, Everyone!"

  9. I think that Western Rite Orthodoxy might help with the ethnicity issue.

  10. if we get our collective acts together. The Antiochian effort has stalled, no movment for many years. ROCOR's now has more parishes now. I am told that Anglican Catholics and Polish National Catholics want to join. However, to quote Bishop Rocco Florenza of the Anglicn Catholics, who went to a Western Rite Conference, " The Antiochians wanted to Arabcize my people and the ROCOR wanted to Russify us."

    I know that he is spot on becuase back in the day at ST. Nicholas Antiochian church in Bridgeport, Bishop Antoun asked me about my ministry ( i am a sub deacon). I told him that on Sundays I was at the Western Rite Mission in Shelton,CT. His face turned red and he banged his staff on the floor and yelled at me saying. "You make them Eastern Rite!" Needless to say, when Met. Philip ordered them to do matins, they resisted because it was not part of their traditional rite, and they joined Bishop Rocco whose cathedral was less than 10 miles away. Their priest now has a flourishing Anglican Catholic parish in another state.

    On the otherhand, St. Nicholas Antiochian parish in Bridgeport did no outreach to them, ( other than my involvement) yet Fr. Michael Roshak at Three Saints O.C.A. in Ansonia, did.

    We need a western rite bishop and vision for the western rite and its growth. We also need to recognize that there are many non canonical western rite groups in the USA and even back to 1920, the non canonical African Orthodox Church was western rite.

    It seems to me that once Fr. Paul Schnierla reposed, the sole advocate for the western rite was silenced and no one has emerged from the wilderness as an advocate for them.

    My first steps would be to make a committment, provide a dedicated bishop, combine ROCOR and Antiochian and find a way to provide a home for African Orthodox, Polish National Catholics, and Anglican Catholics.

    As one sage once said, "if you want something to happen,
    make a place for it." It is time for us stop cutting bait and begin fishing. Isn't it?

  11. *eye roll* The US state department is not getting involved in the affairs of the Bulgarian Church. Do stop with these ridiculous conspiracies. Of the current metropolitans only two are deemed to be pro-Russian.

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