The Antiochian Archdiocese in Australia has recently announced it expects to receive into its ranks members and prospective clergy from two denominations in The Philippines, who a Wiki author reports to number approximately 6,000 in 35 congregations / missions (link probably won’t last forever).  They’ve already got an interesting English-language website for mission in that country.

This reminds me of the initial reception of ‘just’ 2,000 “Evangelical Orthodox” into Antioch’s North American Archdiocese back in 1987 I’ve read so much about!  There’ve been growing pains, but they’ve transformed that jurisdiction, and in significant ways, much of the rest of the Orthodox Church on this continent, especially in the U.S. where most of them are, as Fr. Peter Gillquist points out in the linked article.  You can bet Metropolitan PAUL Down Under has been in touch with Metr. PHILIP*and Fr. Peter up here, as well as with Antioch itself, regarding such a large reception.  (*–Although both their family names are Saliba, IIUC they’re not related.)

There doesn’t seem to be much information about those “incoming” on the Web yet, that I can locate.

Many years to them!

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  1. asimplesinner

    I hope they are able to avoid jurisidictionalism and hold fast to the teachings against stymied fertility and artificial birth control. Children and united organizations will be essential for them.

  2. Leo Peter O'Filon

    Actually IIUC most of mainstream canonical Orthodoxy, at least here outside the traditionally Orthodox countries, has loosened its discipline against artificial contraception in recent generations. What’s usually said is that a married couple should discuss it with their parish priest or spiritual parent, to guard against selfish motivations and such.

    These 6,000 in The Philippines join approx. 500 received en masse into the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the ’90s, what is now their Metropolis of Hong Kong (even after they’ve just spun-off a Metropolis of Singapore).

  3. “Actually IIUC most of mainstream canonical Orthodoxy, at least here outside the traditionally Orthodox countries, has loosened its discipline against artificial contraception in recent generations”

    The question then becomes, is it a “discipline” that can be loosened?

    The blairing difference without distinction on the OCA website between barrier methods and abortificacient contraception is alarming. I might be able to accept that this radical innovation – unknown to Christendom before the Anglicans had the Lambeth convetion of 1931 – can be justifed as a “relaxing of a discipline” (alright, honestly I can’t, but for the sake of argument) if it were the case that the OCA and the other moderns were saying “condoms OK, chemical abortions NO WAY!” but the silence is deafening. They are doing no such thing.

    In fact “the pill” is abortifacient and it causes serious health problems and damage to the environment to boot.

    “Honey, I love you like Christ loved the Church (Eph 5) and I want you to take these hormones that have killed women so your body thinks you are pregnant for three decades and your chances of cancer increase (only slightly!) and you risk heart disease, stroke and blood clotting so we can have sex without the expense of a child!”

    Discipleship is HARD – just like the fasting so many in the East are so proud of.

    I am not convinced that bishops or synods have the moral authority to suspend or “dispense the discipline” of these strictures which no one presumed to do before 1930. (Moscow prohibits it, so Muscovites could maybe appeal to be under another canonical jurisdiction?) But if I were to even concede that it were possible or that it were no more than a discipline, there is no way I could concede that the abortifacients that are most popular are ever allowable.

    And what do you think men will prefer? They don’t want to wear prophalactics.

    So for the sake of this small group, I hope they embrace the discipleship of family life that marriage and fertility allows, and cleave to the new episcopal authorities they have chosen, choosing no more, less they run the risk of division like the Ben Lomand folks (some of whom are now under the [old!] Patriarch of Jerusalem).

  4. too many links – I now await moderation I guess.

  5. Leo Peter O'Filon

    (Wow, you’re keeping me busy, forgive my tardiness, but when I saw this one I felt I should address it ‘out of turn.’ Also, sorry about the “moderation;” as a blogger yourself, I presume you know how necessary it is. *I’m* surprised the spammers haven’t found a workaround yet!)

    As you’re probably aware, there are differences within Orthodoxy worldwide today on artificial contraception, and some folks agree 100 pct. with you. I also feel the need to point out to readers who might not be aware, that some of the side-effects you mention are not universally accepted within the medical or scientific community. I haven’t studied it as much as you have, so I leave them there because they’re very much part of the public discourse around contraception. (Though I am fairly confident regarding the idea that statistically speaking, if a consistently-sexually-active woman stays on any known hormonal contraceptive long enough, she will unknowingly have at least one abortion, ie, the ‘third function’ of the Pill, prevention of Implantation of a conceived embryonic human person. This I consider tragic, if not worse.)

    In any case, I haven’t considered it my place in this blog to take sides (much!) in “quaestiones disputatae” within the Orthodox Church, merely to present “just the facts, ma’am.” Inquirers will find differences within The Church if and when they approach, so I just try to cover all the bases. Sometimes opinions of mine come through; often I label them as such.

    In fairness to the OCA (Orthodox Church in America), whatever you’re finding on their site, their Primate, Metropolitan HERMAN, is hugely out there against abortion, always goes to the January marches in Washington, sometimes if not always (I’m not certain) speaks there, etc. Here’s their on-site search results for the word “abortion,” and a cursory examination of hits there doesn’t seem to me to say anything but what I consider fair to say is the Tradition of Orthodox opposition to abortion, period, though I didn’t check many in detail – there’s alot there, as one might tend to expect. But I do find the following here:

    Finally, abortion is abortion is abortion whether surgical or chemical, and will be fought by those who value the sanctity of human life.

    In any case, ISTM the Orthodox approach to Holy Tradition tends to give greater weight to older words and practices, and those attested by many sources, continuously, because they tend to be experienced as having the seal of the Spirit of God to a greater degree than newer, fewer, and discontinuous ones; we have learned that we may trust them on our path to Glorification. Holy Tradition is nothing less than the Spirit’s Life IN The Church, so the former acquire a perception of sanctity, of weight. You might know this as St. Vincent of Lerins’ guideline to what is “catholic” in Christianity – “those things that have been believed at all times, in all places, by all” – as opposed to the sectarian – newer or sporadic, rare, and by few. So even if, in an apparently Orthodox context, you should happen upon an occasional word on a topic that seems at variance with Orthodox Tradition, we continue to consider the Whole of Tradition. My sense is that most Orthodox are not easily scandalized by the occasional ‘misspeech’ even of a Bishop or great theologian. Hence the flippant-sounding “100 percent of the Fathers are 85 percent right”! I have heard that even the great early Hesychastic (big-T) Theologian, St. Gregory Nazianzen (the Younger – more commonly known in the East as Gregory the Theologian), went overboard and “philosophized” once, but we know it didn’t put him out of The Church or Salvation. Even the ‘Theos’ed’ or “divinized” remain subject to temptations until death.

    Finally, I’ll remind that I am not an Orthodox theologian or spiritual father, and still rather new at this; as a friend says, your mileage may vary.




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