Tuesday, May 12, 2009
clarification for edification
(Posted in comments reposting it here) I offer a brief insight into one of my papers with regards to OCA jurisdictional canonicityIn reading online blogs and the rhetoric from the “modern Day Iconoclasts” at AOI, OCL and elsewhere it seems to me that everybody is missing the point about ‘canonicity’ of the OCA. The problem truly lies with the Moscow Patriarchate. As everybody knows and agrees Jurisdiction is, put simply, a geographical boundary of a particular bishop. It is essential to mention that the “Golden Seal Certificate” of 1591 is the primary source of definition of the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate.The problem today in America goes back to the 16th century when the Moscow Patriarchate took it upon herself to expand her geographic territory along with the secular power of Czarist Russia.It was then, Moscow broke canon law in regards to America. The question is how can the ‘daughter’ church be jurisdictionally legitimate if the ‘mother’ church was not within her canonical authority to bestow it? Obviously there is a common communion the real issue is jurisdictional territory.The online thugs want to make it about: ethnicity, feeling unaccepted, self interest of the Holy Patriarchates or some other irrelevant issue like an individuals grammar… one priest goes so far as to say he won’t serve people pastorally because of their insistence on cultural identity, this smells of bigotry to me. What’s next no pastoral care because of skin tone? What’s worse is his pride in that evil position.The truth of the matter is in 1794 with the arrival of Kodiak Mission’s to supposed Czarist Alaska and part of the geographical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Irkutsk, a diocese well beyond the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate, the continental problem begins. As a foot note as early as 1528 Orthodox had come to other parts of the continent; Don Theodoro with the Narváez expedition in Florida, Ioannis Fokas sailed up Pacific coast under Spanish flag in 1592… so the idea Russians was here first is another scapegoat.As the situation in North America grew further complicated and communities began to bring their own clergy from other homelands, for example The first Greek Orthodox community in the Americas was founded in 1864 in New Orleans under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. By 1900 Moscow recognizing the developing issue of jurisdictional claims to the New World began flexing her political power and unilaterally abrogated Canon law again with no concern for other jurisdictions on the continent and continued further un-canonically expansion with the change to the name of Aleutian Islands and Alaska to Aleutian Islands and ‘North America’ thus attempting to claim, in an expansionist ideology well beyond its canonical geographic and territorial boundaries an entire continent, a new anomaly for Orthodoxy.Confusion grew even further when the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1908, temporarily transferred jurisdiction to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. This arrangement was maintained until 1918 and in 1917 Czarist Russia fell to the communists and the Moscow Patriarchate fell into turmoil. Creating yet another element into the mix.Anybody who claims the situation is as simple as “Moscow granted us autocephaly in 1970” so the conversation is over or tells the Holy Patriarchate of our Mother Churches “Hands off” is either delusion or ignorant to the facts which brought us to this current anomaly.We must pray for the Great Council and the holy mission which they will embark upon for only they can direct the future of this Holy Vessel.