Another take on "canonical" jurisdictions

It occurred to me that another way to comprehend the use of the word “canonical” in connection with Orthodox jurisdictions is to think of it as referring to recognized extensions of recognized autocephalous Churches.

This would cover The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) for those who don’t recognize its autocephaly, but consider it still an extension of the Moscow Patriarchate, with which it reconciled in 1970 in the form of its grant/recognition of autocephaly by its founding Patriarchate, after alienation following the Bolshevik Revolution. This would also cover Moscow and Constantinople’s mutual recognitions of jurisdictions in Estonia, after their brief break in communion in the 1990s: ‘agreeing to disagree,’ so to speak. Presumably this will cover the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) since its May 17 reconciliation with Moscow – for those who doubted previously – barring some kind of objection by somebody else. (Participating in the Liturgies in Moscow that day were representatives of the Autocephalous Churches of America, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, and the Czech Lands and Slovakia.) But this definition would exclude jurisdictions of Churches – rightly or wrongly, I will not or cannot say – not considered autocephalous, such as (the former Yugoslav republic of) Macedonia, HOCNA, UAOC, UOC-KP, BAOC, ROAC, ROCiE, l’ECOF, HOCAJ, FEA, IGOARCH (not to be confused with GOArch), HOCACNA, THEOCACNA, or groups with True or Genuine or Old Calendar or Traditional(ist) or Celtic [Faraor géar!] in their corporate bynames, or many others. Nor would it include recognized Autocephalous Churches’ extensions in other lands, which extensions may not recognized by the Autocephalous Church to whom you may be speaking at any given moment – which I will not go into to avoid controversies which I do not care to go into!

Hence versions of this list to which I have referred previously for convenience (that’s all).

Is there theological, s/Spiritual, Patristic, rational, political, sociological, anthropological rationale for such “recognition” or its withholding?

All of the above.

There is plenty of all of these behind most “claims” made by Holy Orthodox Hierarchs and others in The Church, and it sometimes takes a while for t/Truth or the best idea to ‘rise to the top’ here, with our conciliar form of governance. Also, sometimes “economy” (Greek oikonomia) is applied to situations by one or more Ruling Hierarchs involved, ie, not strictly applying ‘the rules,’ in the interests of persons’ salvation. Finally, even the Orthodox Saints are human, sinners, and at war with the passions until they repose. St. Basil the Great himself was on the wrong side of a jurisdiction fight once!

So whom is an inquirer into Orthodoxy to believe? ME, of course!!! 😉

Seriously, one approach to take would be to go with the overwhelming – I mean overwhelming – majority of Bishops, clergy, and laity, throughout the world, who ALL guard the Faith, in Orthodoxy. The laity themselves have on more than one occasion, and not just in ancient times, resisted wrong which even Bishops attempted to impose. And the overwhelming majority of those – Bishops, clergy, and laity – who go by the name of Orthodox throughout the world, are whom I attempt to reflect in this blog. In the end, I’m just a journalist again: “I don’t make the news, I just report it.” 🙂

(Some may evoke St. Maximos the Confessor, a mere monk who during a very trying time for the first millennium Church, declined Communion with all five Patriarchs – Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem – because he believed, rightly, that they were teaching heresy at that time. But I’m not St. Maximos the Confessor yet. Are you? [Just askin’….])

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