An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Now...down to business. Since the same situation that led to the rift between Moscow and ROCOR also led to the jurisdictional "schism" here in America, isn't it time we end it too? Cut lose the leashes of Istanbul and Damascus that bind us?
Oh now don't go gettin' your panties in a wad. I realize the ROCOR reunion leaves us with a new jurisdictional problem, I guess it will never go away. But I still don't like leashes...if we are ever going to be an American Orthodox Church...
Just a thought here, but maybe we aren't READY to be an American Orthodox Church??? I mean, the Greeks are still all hung up on the Importance of Being Greek, the Antiochians are still lugging around so much Protestant baggage that more than one cradle Orthodox refers to them as "Orthodox Lite," and how exactly does the reconciliation of ROCOR and the MP impact on the OCA, which has Russian roots??? Nah, I don't see an American Orthodox presence happening any time real soon.
If James will suffer a poor ex-Orthodox to comment on this:
Since the jurisdictional mess in American Orthodoxy is not only uncanonical but outright heretical, I don't think whether "we are READY" to be an American Orthodox Church is really the question. I think the question is whether or not Orthodox in America are going to (1) follow the ecumenical canons and establish one -- and only one -- bishop in each place; and (2) embrace the evangelical and missional implications of actually being the Catholic and Apostolic Church that they claim to be (rather than being a "religious service agency" for a particular ethnicity).
The question is not whether to be an "American" Church, it's whether to be the Apostolic Church. If you're not ready to be that, there is no point in pretending to be Orthodox.
I believe Meg's comments about the Antiochian Archdiocese "lugging around so much Protestant baggage" are both unfortunate and incorrect as is the forced disctinction between "cradle" and "convert" Orthodox. In fact the Antiochian Archdiocese, and specifically our Metropolitan PHILIP, have been leaders in the movement for a united Orthodox Church in this country for many years.
Since the jurisdictional mess in American Orthodoxy is not only uncanonical but outright heretical, I don't think whether "we are READY" to be an American Orthodox Church is really the question. I think the question is whether or not Orthodox in America are going to (1) follow the ecumenical canons
You call it heresy? May I assume then you are in attendance at a church not committing this heresy? Do you really think it matters if the canons are followed, or are you making an argument from the perspective of an Orthdoox? Just curious.
The question is not whether to be an "American" Church, it's whether to be the Apostolic Church.
Actually I think your question is answered by default. Of course we are the Apostolic Church, though you will no doubt disagree and will have opinions as to what exactly that should look like.
MY QUESTION is whether or not we are going to be the American expression of the Apostolic Church. As opposed to the Greek-American, or Arab-American, or Russian American expression.
It's OKAY that our culture and/or ethnicity is to some degree wrapped up with our Orthodoxy...I'd even say it is normal. As the Church becomes a part of a given culture it encompasses many aspects of it. Which is precisely why you see some different traditions amongst the Greeks, the Serbs, the Slovaks, the Russians, the Fins etc etc etc. It doesn't HAVE to be a problem...in fact I'd argue it is generally a very good thing that becomes a problem only when people fail to discern boundaries between Church and ethnicity. Failure indeed, as they so often do no matter the issue. But it doesn't make the Church less the Church.
Of course, America is a very unique place - as compared to the old world and thus we have our own unique problems. Multiculturalism being among them, which makes it tough to
May I assume then you are in attendance at a church not committing this heresy?
I'm sure you would not regard the church I attend as fully orthodox, but I think I can safely say that it does not commit this particular heresy. In any case, the teachings of my current church are irrelevant to whether or not Orthodoxy in America is following her own teachings and her own discipline in this matter. She is not following them, and the theological shortcomings of my church do not change that fact.
Do you really think it matters if the canons are followed, or are you making an argument from the perspective of an Orthdoox?
Both. I am making my argument from the perspective of an Orthodox; but I think it absolutely matters whether or not the canons are being followed. I was taught that the canons are the practical application of the dogma of the Church; and if the canons are being consistently ignored I think that calls into question whether the Church is being faithful to her own dogma.
I comment often enough in the Orthodox blogosphere that I thought you were familiar with my situation and my general stance. If not, then I apologize. I may be an ex-Orthodox, but I still love the Orthodox Church, and I do not offer these remarks as an attack on Orthodoxy but in the hope that the Orthodox Church will act like, and appear as, what she truly is: the Catholic and Apostolic Church in this country.
While I generally agree with your recognition of this problem, I do of course disagree that it is the game ending problem.
Church history even from the Apostolic times shows us a Church that is ripe with problems. Wheat and tares.
The men and black and individual lay people are responsible for their various roles, but many more (I think) recognize the problem as well). As we all know, change is slow in Orthodoxy and the situation in America was magnified by the uniqueness of America and her immigrant heritage, but also because of the revolution - without which we'd all either by under the Moscow Patriarch or in the Autocephalous OCA. Either way, I don't see this driving me back to Protestantism. Phyletism, as bad as it can be, doesn't make my perception of the Church as the Church any less obvious to me.
On the contrary, I see a good deal of evidence that phyletism does not play much of a role in everyday Orthodox praxis.
It will be Parishes like ours (if I may toot our horn) that will show the way I expect. Where we see Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Ukrainians, an occasional Serb (wink!), and a collection of converts communing together. Talk about the fullness of the Church.
I expect our Parish isn't alone in experiencing this. As history shows, the Church will find her way out of this mess. Those of us still here need to make sure to work to be part of the solution.
How often have lay people helped lead the way? The Council of Florence springs immediately to mind.