Saturday, February 26, 2011

Speculation: Cause for Met. Jonah's "Leave of Absence" (suspension)

The extreme movement of the OCA leadership to solidify their autocephaly with the unspoken intent of an American Patriarchate from the American Fronteer has shown Metropolitan Jonah the door. It would appear that the Synod is frustrated with Met. Jonah's improved relations with Moscow and this continued statements which openly acknowldge the temporary or transitional status of the autocephaly of the OCA. Unfortunately for Met. Jonah personally his public statements that the OCA "can dissolve" is not shared by all the highest levels of the OCA. They do not wish to accept it is ONLY a transitional "medium" an anomoly which is acknowlsged in their organizational documents and sometimes as their"oral tradition" appears to indicate. In more recent history anyone who is even moderately versed in church protocol and organization understands that ROCOR is NOW the ONLY approved extension of the Russian Church; thus making ROCOR the obvious repository for all OCA parishes and institutions. During this time of transition to a united American Orthodoxy as yet to be defined the OCA as Met. Jonah acknowledges must decrease so that others can increase. And his Synod has decrease Met. Jonah's presence for sure.

My next point unfortunately will read as a side note but it is the core of the matter in actuality the uniformity of the expression of the Faith as discussed by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios during his address at the Episcopal Assembly are essential to unity and to the Faith. 

(1) Some jurisdictions receive persons from roman Catholic and certain Protestant bodies into Holy Orthodoxy by baptism and chrismation, some by chrismation alone, and some merely by confession of faith.

(2) Some jurisdictions receive Roman Catholic clergy converting to Holy Orthodoxy merely by vesting, while others ordain.

(3) Some jurisdictions recognize all marriages performed outside Holy Orthodoxy as being real marriages (though certainly not sacramental) whether performed for an Orthodox or non-Orthodox, while others recognize no marriages performed outside Holy Orthodoxy whether performed for an Orthodox or a non-Orthodox.

(4) Some Orthodox jurisdictions bury suicides under certain circumstances, while others forbid the burial of suicides under all circumstances.

(5) Some jurisdictions bury a person who was cremated with all funeral rites in the church temple, others permit only Trisagion Prayers of Mercy in the funeral home, and some forbid any prayers anywhere for a person who was cremated.

(6) Some jurisdictions recognize civil divorce as complete and sufficient for ecclesiastical purposes, while others do not recognize civil divorce at all and insist on Ecclesiastical Courts.

(7) Some jurisdictions have in the past accepted clergy suspended or even deposed by other jurisdictions.

And this list is by no means exhaustive. This means there is serious work ahead, and this may not sound very appealing. Some of us may wish to avoid this difficult work and settle for easy pronouncements about unity, but the Gospel compels us otherwise.

The Hierarchs of this 'new world' demand their props their 'liberty' in the shadow of their rebellion disgrace the likes of Holy Tikon. We are bound by our moral code, honor and true church membership.To be sure, this Pharonite will not cut and run. This Greek-American is Greek Orthodox. The Ecumenical Throne cannot be distinguished and somehow removed from the Orthodox Church as Greek cannot be removed from the Orthodox faith. This is the true Church. Is it really too much to ask our clergy spent their tenure as a priest learning the language of the Bible and the church fathers? We expect immigrants to learn English but we accept ignorance and stagnation from our shepherds who would have us exchange excellence or mediocrity. Pitiful.

10 comments:

Isa Almisry said...

" It would appear that the Synod is frustrated with Met. Jonah's improved relations with Moscow and this continued statements which openly acknowldge the temporary or transitional status of the autocephaly of the OCA."

The OCA may be temporary, but autocephaly is not. Btw, relations with Moscow have been fine, in no need of "improvement." That's nothing new.

"In more recent history anyone who is even moderately versed in church protocol and organization understands that ROCOR is NOW the ONLY approved extension of the Russian Church; thus making ROCOR the obvious repository for all OCA parishes and institutions."

Uh, you do know that Abp. Justinian, the co-vice chairman representing the Russian Patriarchal Parishes is not part of ROCOR. And he doesn't not commemorate Met. Hilarion, the first hierarch of ROCOR, but he does commemoate Met. Jonah, the autocephalous primate of North America.

"The Ecumenical Throne cannot be distinguished and somehow removed from the Orthodox Church as Greek cannot be removed from the Orthodox faith. This is the true Church. Is it really too much to ask our clergy spent their tenure as a priest learning the language of the Bible and the church fathers?"

How's their Aramaic, the language of the Lord and the Holy Theotokos, St. Ephraim of Syria, St. Isaac of Ninevah and other Fathers?

Btw, I think you mean "Phanariot."

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

Isa good to hear from you again we can agree to disagree on what it all means. You must realize however that Paul didn't speak Aramaic. The New Testement Texts/Bible were given in Greek. The Patristic Fathers like Chrysostom spoke Greek. If there are learned people who spoke in other languages it would be a good idea when studying them to refer to their texts. Remember I'm refering to those who wish to lead others. The most perfect language given to mankind was Greek. It set the stage for the coming of our Lord. I wish I knew more Greek like my faith it is a work in progress.

Isa Almisry said...

"You must realize however that Paul didn't speak Aramaic."
Check your Bible on that: Acts 21:40, 22:2.

"The New Testement Texts/Bible were given in Greek." Except for St. Matthew, but then the final edition came out in Greek.

"The Patristic Fathers like Chrysostom spoke Greek." True, but St. Anthony the Great only spoke Coptic, SS. Ephraim and Isaac, St. Ambrose only in Latin, etc. But like you say, much of the most important writings are in, or translated into, Greek.

"The most perfect language given to mankind was Greek." Lol. I don't know about that, but I'll admit its close.

Btw, you might get a kick out of me defending the use of Greek in Africa (several posts):
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,34049.msg538055.html#msg538055

Michael Psaromatis said...

The OCA situation was always one which troubled me and many in Australia. Obviously the most annoying aspect of its existence is that it was indeed a product of a then suspect Patriarchate who had no universal authority to grant autocephaly. The problems that have arisen from the OCA are many and well known. At the same time the OCA has produced some of the best Theologians and resources of recent times. But unfortunately it has been marred with continual and considerable shadow. If we talk about honesty and integrity with regards to unity on the OCA's part then why did the OCA for a long period of time have 3 parishes in Australia who commemorated the OCA Metropolitan? Why did this anomaly exist for such a long period of time? (from 1971- today) Even today there still exists in Australia a parish or should i say a mission Church under the Omophor of the Metropolitan of the OCA.
These antics unfortunately bear witness to some truths which have been only detrimental in the struggle towards Unity, valid Church structure and Orthodox ecclesiology.

Isa Almisry said...

"Obviously the most annoying aspect of its existence is that it was indeed a product of a then suspect Patriarchate who had no universal authority to grant autocephaly."
There is no universal authority except the Church gathered in Ecumeical Council, and the Church has acted to produce autocephaly only twice, both times to elevate Constantinople to autocephaly and primacy.

"If we talk about honesty and integrity with regards to unity on the OCA's part then why did the OCA for a long period of time have 3 parishes in Australia who commemorated the OCA Metropolitan?"

Because they had no episcopal oversight, and placed themselves under the OCA.

"These antics unfortunately bear witness to some truths which have been only detrimental in the struggle towards Unity, valid Church structure and Orthodox ecclesiology."

What antics? As an autocephalous Church, the OCA is able to act under canon 34 of Carthage and canon 2 of Consatninople I (see the commentary in the Pedalion).
Makes as much sense as commemorating the EP, who is about just as far.

Michael Psaromatis said...

Who said anything about commemorating the EP?? Antics refer to the non-canonical and thorn-like action of the OCA to come to Australia. That is absolute rubbish that they "didnt have episcopal oversight" so what when they came under the OCA there was episcopal oversight? it was clearly about getting into disagreement with the jurisdictions they were initially with. They had the opportunity to go to any of the jurisdictions currently in Australia which had Episcopal Oversight. The OCA provided these parishes a getaway from their initial problems which mainly stemmed from political differences and the risk of loosing land titles to the canonical jurisdictions (members of Scoba/Episcopal Assembly) in Australia. These are definitely antics especially when most of the Orthodox autocephalous Church don't approve of the OCA's autocephaly. The OCA's presence in Australia is invalid.
Universal authority. Usually after a local Church has reliquished its authority of one of its Bishoprics and grants autocephaly the next step would be for the universal Church - all the world Jurisdictions to unanimously accept the new autocephalic church. If the Russian Patriarchate then was really interested in the welfare of the OCA it would have as the mother church tried protecting its Child from future problems by not granting autocephaly when it knew that the OCA would not be accepted universally as an Autocephalous Church. Therefore it acted from this perspective quite irresponsibly.

Isa Almisry said...

"Who said anything about commemorating the EP??"
Well, take you pick: either him, or the Patriarch of Antioch, of the Patriarch of Serbia, or the first hiearch of ROCOR. I think at the time that was basically your choices in Australia, and basically equidistant.

"That is absolute rubbish that they "didnt have episcopal oversight" so what when they came under the OCA there was episcopal oversight? it was clearly about getting into disagreement with the jurisdictions they were initially with."

That would be ROCOR: at the time pratically everyone was in disagreement with them, as they were not in communion anyone but Serbia and Jerusaalem.

"They had the opportunity to go to any of the jurisdictions currently in Australia which had Episcopal Oversight."
Except any Russian one: Russia had not abandoned its claim to Australia, but had not yet organized a Patriarchal jurisdiction. The Austraian parishes were as free as the ROCOR parishes that, under similar circumstances, went under Constantinople to form The Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe (including, interestingly enough, Alexander Nemolovsky, who had defended the North American Archdiocese against Met./Abp./EP/Pope Meletius' uncanonical antics in North America but recognized Meletius' election as EP when no Greek would-Greece had deposed and defrocked him and declared all his acts null and void, and Alexandria, Jerusalem and Cyprus backed this up. The Exarchate also included both Schmemann and Meyendorff, who went on to be instrumental in the OCA).

Isa Almisry said...

"The OCA provided these parishes a getaway from their initial problems which mainly stemmed from political differences"

Like the Greek Revolution led to the autocephaly of the Church of Greece, and the move of the capital led to the autocephaly of Constantinople, over Rome's protest?

"and the risk of loosing land titles to the canonical jurisdictions (members of Scoba/Episcopal Assembly)"

Neither which existed in 1971, when the OCA organized the Australian parishes. I've been informed on the latter that Abp. Stylianos had been refusing to call the EA in Australia and Oceania, and then, like the EA in South America, violated the Chambesy accords and didn't invite the bishops they canonical bishops with oversight that evidently the Phanar didn't want to see there. In the case of Australia that of course included the OCA-which the Phanar has tried very hard to completely shut out of the EA process-but also the Russian bishops with oversight of the Far East (the Polish bishops were left out in SA).

The Phanar wanted to have the OCA excluded but Abp. Demetrios, following in the footsteps of Abp. Iakovos of blessed memory, issued the invitations anyway, and the OCA was seated on the EA per the Chambesy accords "signed by all the autocephalous Churches" as Constantinople is so fond of saying.

It is interesting that you bring up law suits and land: the fiasco of Bp. Osborne's uncanonical attempt to seize the Russian Diocese of Sourozh and give it to the Phanar, with a legal argument based on the canon 28 myth, received a stinging rebuke from the British courts. So too the attempt of the Phanar's exarch to seize Nice Church likewise got its hands slapped by the French state.

Then there's the problem in the US that the OCA' incorporation is established by treaty, while the incorporation of what became Holy Trinity "The Cathedral of all of Hellenism in America" as EP Athenagoras consecrated it, was illegal and unconstitutional under NY and US law.

"These are definitely antics especially when most of the Orthodox autocephalous Church don't approve of the OCA's autocephaly."

Yes, I know this mantra of the Greek Church, employed to hide the fact that the plurality of the Orthodox autcephalous Churches recognize the OCA's autocephaly. Only the Greek Church has set itself in opposition, which showed up this weekend at Chambesy.

"The OCA's presence in Australia is invalid."

LOL. I'm sure the Phanar thinks so, but then it doesn't accept the validity of the OCA in North America. But now the EA of canonical bishops has been establshed, as agreed by all the autocephalous Churches, and the OCA is on it. As such, according to Chambesy, Met. Jonah should be taking his place as a canonical bishop with a presence (i.e. Church) in Australia on the EA down under by you.

Isa Almisry said...

"Universal authority. Usually after a local Church has reliquished its authority of one of its Bishoprics and grants autocephaly the next step would be for the universal Church - all the world Jurisdictions to unanimously accept the new autocephalic church. If the Russian Patriarchate then was really interested in the welfare of the OCA it would have as the mother church tried protecting its Child from future problems by not granting autocephaly when it knew that the OCA would not be accepted universally as an Autocephalous Church. Therefore it acted from this perspective quite irresponsibly."

Yes, this is the fairy tale that the Phanar tried to tell at Chambesy this weekend it seems, and why talks fell through.

Usually, a local bishop declares autocephaly and his synod takes it. They then garner support from the other Churches to force the Mother Church to recognize that the daughter has grown up and left the nest. That is how the Church of Greece gained autocephaly, the Church of Romania, and most of the Church of Serbia (the present patriarchate is made up of four whole autocephalous Churches, an autonomous Church and part of at least five others. Only one, the Metropolitinate of Belgrade, got its autocephaly in the manner you describe). The Church of Jerusalem reestablished its autocephaly by getting its primate, the Patriarch of Antioch, deposed and taking advantage of the situation. Cyprus took similar advantage at an Ecumenical Council to get its autocephaly reconzied-although it remained quite dependent on its Mother Church of Antioch, a fact that induced Antioch to try to reclaim the island for over a millenium-as did Constantinople to become autocephalous over the objections of the Patriarchate to which it belonged-Old Rome. Alexandria, my Mother Church, of course received its autocephaly from the Apostles.

Albania is a singular case-its Mother Church is the Albanian Diocese of Boston in the OCA, which led the fight to force Constantinople to recognize Albania as autocephalous.

The other 7 are a moot point, as they recognize the OCA's autocephaly.

And then there is the OCA: the Metropolia, its predecessor, had approached Constantinople to take it in, like the Exarchate in Western Europe, but the Phanar said that it had to settle matters with its Mother Church. It did, in the Tomos of Autcephaly.

Constantinople took 141 years to finally accept the fact of Moscow's autocephaly, so Moscow knew what was involved when it isssued the Tomos to her daugher. The OCA I doubt will take another century to achieve universal recognition. I have my doubts that it will take another decade, given what happened at Chambesy.

Michael Psaromatis said...

All that has been said by you is partly assumed knowledge and mostly factual.
The OCA in Australia was never a member of SCOBA. Also ROCOR had not been a member since the mid 70s. Whatever the case The Orthodox Church of America is "autocephalic" with regards to America. You have mentioned about the meddling of affairs by the EP in other peoples territory and so forth.. in the same light what on earth is THE OCA doing in Australia. I think quite legitimately it shouldn't be part of the EA in Australia and this has absolutely nothing to do with the EP - Arch STYLIANOS is a firm hierarch. Simply it is incomprehensible, silly at best for the OCA to be in Australia. As for the American situation that is not what concerns me(though i pray that the Holy Spirit guides everyone involved there to a whole unified Orthodoxy.)
When Rev Thomas Hopko visited and gave a lecture to students and the Academic staff of St Andrew's Theological College in Sydney in 2000 he categorically stated that really there shouldn't be any OCA parishes in Australia.

If the OCA can come to Australia then why cant the Church of Cyprus or Church of Greece or any of the Greek Autocephalous Churches set up shop here in Australia? And its not only because of the so called scare tactics by th EP,. Its also common sense. Look what happened to the Church of Jerusalem when they tried to establish and set up shop here in Australia in 1992 (taking with them a schismatic and a Apostolic Succession - less political Church. The Late Patriarch Diodorous was nearly defrocked by a Meizon Synod. 2 of his bishops were also defrocked among with several clergy. Later all repented and were made regular clergy again. At the same time i do acknowledge cases such as that with Estonia and so forth. But surely it ain't an eye for an eye!